Title:
Trading away democracy
Creator:
Olivet, Cecilia Wikipedia Redlin, Blair Wikipedia Verheecke, Lora Wikipedia Eberhardt, Pia Wikipedia
PURL document:
urn:nbn:at:at-akw:g-862463
PURL:
https://emedien.arbeiterkammer.at/viewer/resolver?urn=urn:nbn:at:at-akw:g-862480
Authors: Pia Eberhardt, Blair Redlin, Cecilia Olivet and Lora Verheecke
Editor: Scott Harris and Katharine Ainger
Design and illustrations: Ricardo Santos
Published by Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO), Transnational Institute, Powershift, the Council of Canadians, V�degylet 
Egyes�let, War on Want, Umanotera, Friends of the Earth Europe (FoEE), Quebec Network on Continental Integration 
(RQIC), Forum Umwelt und Entwicklung, Global Justice Now (GJN), European Federation of Public Service Unions (EPSU), 
Association Internationale de techniciens, Experts et Chercheurs (AITEC), Attac Austria, LobbyControl, Vienna Chamber of 
Labour (AK Vienna), Afrika Kontakt, Ecologistas en Acci�n, Instytut Globalnej Odpowiedzialno�ci (IGO), Both Ends, Nature 
Friends Greece, Centre national de coop�ration au d�veloppement (CNCD-11.11.11) and Attac France.
September 2016
Trading Away Democracy 
How CETA�s investor protection rules could result in  
a boom of investor claims against Canada and the EU
Executive summary
On September 26, 2014, Canada and the European Union (EU) announced the conclusion of a 
far-reaching economic integration agreement, the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement 
(CETA). The agreement included an investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) mechanism, later 
tweaked and re-branded as ICS (Investment Court System) in February 2016, which could unleash 
a corporate litigation boom against Canada, the EU and individual EU member states, and could 
dangerously thwart government efforts to protect citizens and the environment.
ICS, an ISDS mechanism, gives foreign corporations the ability to directly sue countries at 
international tribunals for compensation over health, environmental, financial and other domestic 
safeguards that they believe undermine their rights. These investor-state lawsuits are decided 
by private commercial arbitrators who are paid for each case they hear, with a clear tendency 
to interpret the law in favour of investors. While the Commission has described the tribunals 
as �public�, Germany�s largest association of judges and public prosecutors says neither the 
proposed procedure for the appointment of members of the ICS nor their position meet the 
international requirements for the independence of courts and that the ICS emerges not as an 
international court, but rather as a permanent court of arbitration.
ICS can prevent governments from acting in the public interest both directly when a corporation 
sues a state, and indirectly by discouraging legislation for fear of triggering a suit. Globally, 
investors have challenged laws that protect public health such as anti-smoking laws, bans on 
toxics and mining, requirements for environmental impact assessments, and regulations  
relating to hazardous waste, tax measures and fiscal policies.
        

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