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CETA, FTA, TTIP, ISDS, European Commission, investment, arbitration


The purpose of this paper is to evaluate the European Commission’s approach to investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) in the proposed CETA with Canada and FTA with Singapore. The text on ISDS in both agreements is evaluated according to general criteria of independence, fairness, openness, and balance. The main conclusion reached is that there is no significant difference between the CETA and FTA when it comes to ISDS. With the qualified exception of the criterion of openness, both agreements fall well short of satisfying the criteria. As such, neither agreement offers a significant improvement on the U.S. model of ISDS and, in some respects, the Commission’s approach would make things worse, especially on the criterion of balance. Viewed alongside the TTIP, the CETA and FTA should be understood as an effort by the Commission to expand and lock in a deeply flawed system of dispute resolution — premised on the special privileging and subsidizing of large companies and very wealthy individuals, with lucrative returns also for ISDS lawyers and arbitrators — so that it covers most of the world economy.