Book chapters will be unavailable on Saturday 24th August between 8am-12pm BST. This is for essential maintenance which will provide improved performance going forwards. Please accept our apologies for any inconvenience caused.
Late last year, the European Commission unveiled an ambitious and complex proposal to replace investor-state arbitration with a transnational court, including an appellate instance, which has now been incorporated into its new bilateral agreements with Vietnam and Canada (CETA). The Commission was responding to strong public resistance to including investor protections in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), the trade and investment agreement being negotiated between the European Union and the United States. This resistance reflects a remarkable shift in emphasis from the World Trade Organization (WTO) to the investment regime in what could be called loosely the antineoliberal globalization movement. The overarching concern is that international decision-makers with a neoliberal or procorporate bias will limit the policy space of sovereign states, especially in sensitive areas such as public services, the environment, health, and safety. While it is arguable that few of the actual outcomes in investor-state disputes can properly be understood in this way, the pursuit by Philip Morris of its attack on tobacco regulation through the investment regime has certainly provided a very obvious example for the activists. (The defeat of that challenge on jurisdictional grounds doesn’t really provide assurance about the substantive norms at issue and their consistency with policy space.)