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Sept. 3 — A EU spokesman on trade said EU trade negotiators by year-end will draft a new proposal regarding rules for resolving investor claims against governments under the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).
“Once the proposal has been made, it will defreeze negotiations,” the spokesman predicted.
A chapter on investor-state dispute settlement in the pending U.S.-EU trade agreement continues to be controversial between the two country's negotiations as well as within the European Parliament.
The spokesman said legal experts from the Directorate General for Trade of the European Commission are working on new text for the chapter, and have not yet shared the draft with the EU Parliament or with their U.S. counterparts.
The European Parliament July 8 approved a resolution calling for the U.S. and the EU to include in the TTIP an arbitration system that respects the jurisdiction of EU and members state courts and in which “private interests cannot undermine public policy objectives”.
Later in July, at the end of the 10th round of talks on TTIP, EU chief negotiator Ignacio Garcia Bercero told reporters that he and his team “would be aiming to put forward a proposal to the United States that is different from the existing ISDS regime.”
But trade groups are uncertain about the extent to which EU lawyers could budge from their previous stance, and thereby reach agreement with U.S. negotiators.
“We aren't sure what they will propose, but we are skeptical,” the head of a global trade federation in Brussels told Bloomberg BNA on Sept. 3. “We don't see much scope for changing the ISDS system. We expect they will find a political way to present the same text differently.”
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