Another Nail In the Coffin Of Corporate Sovereignty, As Massive Asian Trade Deal RCEP Nears Completion Without It
from the ISDS,-what-is-it-good-for? dept
Remember RCEP? The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership is a massive trade deal being negotiated by most of South-East Asia — including China and India. Although still little-known, it has been grinding away in the background, and is drawing closer to a final agreement. Almost exactly a year ago Techdirt noted that there were some interesting rumors that corporate sovereignty — officially known as investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) — might be dropped from the deal. A story in The Malaysian Reserve confirms that is the case:
After missing several deadlines, member countries of the proposed Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) have agreed to exclude the investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) mechanism, a move that might expedite conclusion of the talks by the end of the year.
[Malaysia’s] Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) Minister Datuk Darell Leiking ? said all RCEP member states — 10 Asean countries plus six free trade agreement (FTA) partners namely Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea — have decided to drop the ISDS, but the item could be brought up again within two years of the agreement’s ratification.
So corporate sovereignty is definitely out of the initial agreement, but could, theoretically, be brought back after two years if every participating nation agrees. Despite that slight loophole, this is a significant blow against the entire concept of ISDS. It’s part of a larger trend to drop corporate sovereignty that has been evident for some time now. That still leaves plenty of toxic ISDS clauses in older investment treaties and trade deals, but the tide is definitely turning.