Potential ISDS problems post Covid-19
29 June 2020
John Ring, Foreign Affairs Spokesperson
"The presence of investor - state dispute settlement provisions in international treaties is likely to cause major problems in the post - Covid 19 world," John Ring, Social Credit Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs, said today.
"One of the arguments against the Transpacific Partnership Agreement was that it involved investor - state dispute settlement clauses, which allow foreign - owned companies to sue governments without using the courts.
"This feature remained in the CPTPP (the final agreement between the TPPA nations minus the USA), and is also present in other agreements that New Zealand is a party to.
"It is unlikely to benefit New Zealand because the only New Zealand - owned business large enough to be able to afford to take an ISDS case against a foreign government is Fonterra.
"There is a grave risk that in the world of Covid 19, large companies may use ISDS to sue governments for actions they took to stop the spread of the virus.
"Internationally, a large number of organisations agree that to avoid this risk, countries should remove ISDS provisions from all their international agreements as quickly as possible.
"The Social Credit Party supports this position.
"The CPTPP allows pairs of countries to exchange side letters creating limited exemptions from the agreement. There is already one saying the ISDS provisions don't apply to relations between New Zealand and Australia.
"More side letters could be written to increase the number of exemptions from this provision.
"In the case of bilateral agreements, all that is needed is for the two countries involved to agree to remove the relevant provisions from their agreements.
"However, there will probably be a need for some multilateral negotiations," said Mr Ring