RCEP trade agreement must not allow corporations to sue governments

The New Zealand Government should take controversial and outdated Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) provisions off the table in the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) trade negotiations in Auckland this week, the Green Party said today.

Trade Minister Todd McClay has been reported as saying that RCEP should include ISDS provisions, which allow foreign corporations to sue governments in secretive extra-judicial tribunals.

“ISDS rules that allow foreign corporations to sue governments have no place in 21st century trade deals,” Green Party trade spokesperson Dr Kennedy Graham said.

“ISDS rules can have chilling effects on governments and even local councils, when the threat of potential litigation stops them from doing what’s right for their citizens.

“ISDS is about much more than trade, it’s about rewriting the rules of international relations to take power away from governments and give it to corporations.

“India is against ISDS in RCEP and New Zealand should be too.

“The European Union has been very clear that ISDS is outdated and we need new ways to balance the protection of investors’ rights with the democratic right of governments to govern in their people’s best interests.

“It’s good to see the New Zealand Government trying to be more open about RCEP than it was for the TPPA. I hope this newfound transparency will extend throughout the RCEP negotiations.

“Once all the countries’ negotiating positions are on the table, there is really no good reason why those negotiating positions shouldn’t also be made public,” said Dr Graham.

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