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Barlow at conference opposing investor-state in Istanbul

Maude Barlow at conference about investor-state provisions in trade agreements

Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow is in Istanbul at this moment for a major conference about controversial investor-state provisions in ‘trade’ agreements.

Investor-state dispute settlement provisions in ‘trade’ agreements are highly problematic because they allow corporations to sue governments over public policy that interferes with their ‘right to profit’ notably through secretive tribunals rather than the judicial system.

This morning she has tweeted:

  • Companies in India using investor state to enhance profits in times of business slowdown.

  • India has paid millions and maybe billions to foreign companies (some awards are secret). Supreme Court calls one “unconstitutional.”

  • South Asia – 246 investment deals. All major companies are being challenged by investor state clauses.

  • Is apparent that countries like Indonesia, Bolivia, Venezuela that are rejecting investor state have both courage and strong movements.

  • Southeast and East Asia – resource grabs being protected by investor state. Indonesia and Thailand fighting back.

  • African groups fighting mining etc, are beginning to come together to fight investor state.

  • Report from Sub Saharan Africa – US tells member countries it will set the rules of trade deals – “take it or leave it.”

  • Report from the Middle East and North Africa – increasing criminalization of dissent against those opposing investor state.

  • Lori Wallach of Citizen Trade Campaign says investor state elevates corporations to the status of governments.

Follow her reports on this important conference at @MaudeBarlow

The conference runs May 13-15. It has brought together 40-45 campaigners from around the world. It was convened by Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch, Both ENDS, Arab NGO Network for Development, Third World Network, Southern and Eastern African Trade Information and Negotiation’s Institute, The Egyptian Center for Economic and Social Rights, Focus on the Global South, Friends of the Earth Europe, Third World Network Africa, Public Services International, and Friends of the Earth Uruguay.