“Canada Should Take Good Note of India’s Freeze on All Investment Protection Agreements”

With ratification of the Canada-China Investment Treaty still pending, the Green Party of Canada underscores India’s decision to move away from bilateral investment protection agreements and their investor/state dispute system.

After facing the threat of international arbitration from foreign companies, India has ordered in January 2013 a freeze of all bilateral investment protection agreements negotiations until a governmental review is carried out and completed. Although news of India’s decision has not been mentioned in the Canadian media, the decision is clearly relevant.

“In November 2012, Prime Minister Harper told me in the House of Commons that the Indian Prime Minister was committed to signing a foreign investment promotion and protection agreement with Canada. I think Canada should take good note of India’s freeze on all investment protection agreements,” said Green Leader Elizabeth May, Member of Parliament for Saanich-Gulf Islands.

“The investor/state dispute system contained in investment agreements allows foreign companies to sue Canada outside of Canadian courts. Special arbitrators would take the decisions; their decision cannot be subject to judicial review. And the arbitrations are to be secret. Even the fact they are happening is to be secret,” said May.

“India is joining nations such as Australia and South Africa in saying ‘no’ to investor/state provisions. It’s time for Canada to also turn the page on this out-of-date and undemocratic international trade model,” said May.