Many people fear that American investors, if the free trade treaty TTIP will be implemented, will sue our governments on a massive scale. But this so-called “ISDS” has been existing for years already. And the suing party, that’s us. A revealing look in the hidden world of investor-state dispute settlement. Caracás, the capital of Venezuela, is tropically hot. It’s 2006. Bernard Mommer sits at his desk, in an enormously ugly, grey-black building in the middle of town, looking at his correspondence. As deputy secretary of Oil he is in regular contact with the 41 foreign oil companies which are active in the country. They are entering a turbulent time, since the government of Chavez has decided to get more out of the oil which runs from the country by billions of barrels. Mommer opens a peculiar letter that has been forwarded to him by his boss, the secretary of Oil. “We accept your arbitration offer”, it reads, “on the basis of the Dutch investment treaty with Venezuela.” Sender: the Italian oil company Eni. The first …
Are you into investment arbitration (also known as ISDS)? Use our interactive map and our database to find more about how ISDS has affected your country.
Venezuela doesn’t want investment treaties anymore if they give investors the right to drag the country before a commercial court. “The system has been set up to break down the nation-state.” All is not going well for Venezuela. While the country is torn apart by poor governance, poverty and polarisation, it is attacked from the outside by oil firms claiming tens of billions of dollars.
American corporation Newmont escaped the domestic processing requirement from Indonesia’s 2009 Mining Law, by using a clause in a Dutch investment treaty.
The heavily criticized legal mechanism, known as ISDS, is an important tool for European companies to pressurize developing countries.
Investors can seek arbitration if they feel they have been treated unfairly by a host state. Read how ISDS actually works – or how compannies can sue a country.
The number of cases of arbitration between investors and states (ISDS) has exploded. This video shows the history of ISDS in 1 minute.
Being afraid of TTIP is a bit ironic, because Western European companies have already access to this system, known as ISDS. And they use it massively.
Wat is ISDS? Is het gevaarlijk? Data-onderzoek naar het systeem waarmee bedrijven landen kunnen aanklagen (bekend van TTIP).