Agriculture & food

The investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) mechanism included in most trade and investment agreements gives foreign investors the right to challenge national laws and regulations related to agriculture and food, would these regulations represent an obstacle to their profits.

About 4% of all ICSID cases concerned agriculture, fishing and forestry issues as of end of 2014.

Most well-known cases include:

• Corn Products International (US) vs. Mexico: in 2009 US$58.4 million were awarded to the agribusiness producer of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) – a derived sweetener linked to obesity. The investor challenged a government tax levied on beverages sweetened with HFCS (NAFTA invoked).

• Cargill (US) vs. Mexico: US$90.7 million awarded to the food-processing giant in 2009. The investor successfully challenged the abovementioned Mexican tax on HFCS (NAFTA invoked).

• Micula (Sweden) vs. Romania: US$250 million awarded to the multiple food-processing company in 2013, following the termination of incentives from the Romanian government in order to comply with EU law (Romania-Sweden BIT invoked).

(October 2015)

Holding Redlich | 28-Aug-2015
Changes to Australian food labelling laws provide consumers with an increased understanding of the origin of their food. The challenge Australia faces is to ensure compliance with foreign investment trade agreements.
FT Alphaville | 26-Aug-2015
Joseph Stiglitz, the Nobel Prize-winning economist, discusses TPP.
La Via Campesina | 30-Mar-2015
Le 17 avril 2015, La Via Campesina internationale concentrera sa mobilisation sur les impacts des entreprises transnationales et les traités de libre échange affectant l’agriculture paysanne et la souveraineté nationale.
La Via Campesina | 30-Mar-2015
This April 17th 2015, La Via Campesina will focus its mobilizations on the impacts of Transnational Corporations and Free Trade Agreements on peasant and small-scale agriculture and national food sovereignty
TNI | 20-Jan-2015
This brief analyses and illustrates how international investment rules thwart the struggle for land and food sovereignty.
InfOGM | 3-Dec-2014
En France, l’Assemblée nationale a adopté une résolution concernant l’accord de libre échange entre l’Union européenne et le Canada (CETA). Objectif : mieux préciser certaines clauses, en enlever d’autres et faire en sorte que les Parlements puissent le ratifier.
ENDS Europe | 10-Jul-2014
Asked about the trade deal the Commission is currently negotiating with the US, which campaigners fear will allow private companies to challenge the EU’s environmental rules, Mr Juncker stressed that the normal, publicly accountable, court system should be used instead of private courts or arbitration panels.
Gene Ethics | 24-Apr-2014
Australian PM Abbott’s trade deals with Korea, Japan and 12 other Pacific rim countries may give foreign companies the right to sue our governments for claimed losses over GM-free zones. A Greens Bill now in the Senate seeks to stop corporate predators having this right in all future treaties.
Les Echos | 14-Apr-2014
Un tribunal arbitral constitué sous l’égide du CIRDI condamnait l’Etat roumain à verser aux frères Micula, citoyens suédois ayant investi dans la distribution alimentaire et de boissons, le montant de 250 millions de dollars de dommages et intérêts.
| 12-Apr-2014
The Greens and independent senator Nick Xenophon have said the government will face a tough battle if it seeks to ease foreign investment restrictions.

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