The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) is a proposed trade deal currently being negotiated between the European Union and the United States.
The mandate to the European Commission states that “the Agreement will include an appropriate dispute settlement mechanism”.
The investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) mechanism in TTIP has drawn fierce criticism from civil society groups from both sides of the Atlantic. They claimed in December 2013, in a letter to the European Commission and the Office of the United States Trade Representative that ISDS was “a one-way street by which corporations can challenge government policies, but neither governments nor individuals are granted any comparable rights to hold corporations accountable”.
In 2014, the European Commission launched a public consultation about the inclusion of ISDS in TTIP. The result was very clear: 97% of the 150,000 participants said no to ISDS.
The European Commission put forward in 2015 a proposal for an alternative mechanism, named investment court system, a move it said would make ISDS more transparent and allow states to appeal against multinationals’ challenges. But groups portrayed the suggested changes as putting “lipstick on a pig”, as they are merely cosmetic changes, and would still allow corporations to sue governments in parallel court settings.