Investment protection in CETA: a critical analysis

The European Commission and Canada had the opportunity, in the final text of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), to drop the right of foreign investors to take recourse to investorstate dispute settlement (ISDS). They failed to do so. In fact, European and Canadian negotiators decided to retain the worst provisions of the ISDS system and even considerably extended their scope geographically and economically.

As the following analysis of CETA’s Chapter 8 on investment protection reveals, the updated provisions in the text of 29 February 2016 merely adjust certain procedural aspects of the ISDS process without addressing the imminent threats posed by the agreement, namely a limitation of democratic rights and the rule of law. As such, the growing number of European citizens and decisionmakers already weary of, or opposed to, the inclusion of ISDS in the Canadian and U.S. free trade agreements cannot feel secure in the Commission’s assurances that it has made the process more fair, transparent and accommodating of public interest regulation.