India opposes investment pact put by EU, Canada at WTO

Other WTO members such as Brazil and Argentina did not support the move

The Dollar Business Bureau

India has opposed an informal proposal put by the European Union (EU) and Canada about a global investment agreement with the provision related to investor-to-state dispute settlement (ISDS) at World Trade Organisation (WTO).

The matter was deliberated at an ‘informal meeting’ of key members of WTO, including India, Australia, Brazil, China and Japan in Davos (Switzerland) last week.

“We rejected it (the attempt made by the EU and Canada) completely. We want anything to do with investments to be a bilateral thing... We do not believe in making investments a subject of multilateral disputes,” Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman told reporters in New Delhi.

Sitharaman said that she is against the ‘contentious’ ISDS mechanisms that is a part of a bilateral pact between the EU and Canada.

Under the ISDS mechanism, corporates can file international arbitration against sovereign governments for resolution of disputes.

Both sides want other members of WTO to agree to the given mechanism and the draft to resolve disputes of investors at the multi-lateral stage.

“There is no system that we will have investment pact in which firms can take the sovereign governments or even regional governments to arbitration. We wanted, anything related to investments, to be settled by the local courts and laws and only after that they will appeal outside,” she said.

The Minister said that other member countries of WTO such as Brazil and Argentina also were not in favour of the move.

Therefore at this stage, having this draft for a multi-lateral method with regards to investment may be immature,” Sitharaman said.

India presents its view ‘informally’ as that was an informal meeting of WTO members, she added.

On the issues of WTO, the minister said that the members discussed the upcoming ministerial conference to be held in December in Argentina.

The Dollar Business Bureau - Jan 24, 2017 12:00 IST