Pacific

Pacific states have signed 72 trade and investment agreements, 39 of which have been concluded by Australia alone.

Most of Australia’s free trade deals contain investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) provisions, including those with ASEAN and New Zealand (AANZFTA), China (ChAFTA), India, Indonesia, Korea, Mexico or Turkey.

Following a dispute with Philip Morris over an anti-tobacco law, Australia claimed it would refrain from engaging into new investment agreements with ISDS. However Australia’s more recent agreements such as ChAFTA, the Indonesia FTA, the Hong Kong FTA and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) include ISDS.

The Philip Morris vs. Australia case is the most well-known dispute to date. When Australia introduced plain packaging for all tobacco products in 2011, Philip Morris initiated a claim against Australia before an arbitral tribunal. In its December 2015 decision, the tribunal dismissed the case, albeit on legal grounds only. Australia spent A$24 million but Philip Morris only paid half, leaving the Australian taxpayers to pay the rest.

The Pacific has been the least targeted region. Only Australian investors have initiated disputes on seven registered occasions, two of which were under the Energy Charter Treaty.

Photo: Dominic Hartnett / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

(April 2020)

Mining Watch | 7-Apr-2021
Referring repeatedly to legal threats by Barrick Gold Corp., Prime Minister Papua New Guinea released a statement announcing that his government will be making a deal with the company in regard to the Porgera Joint Venture gold mine.
Proactive | 24-Mar-2021
The company has appointed a leading international law firm to advise the company of its legal options, and in particular, the Australian Bilateral Investment Treaty.
AFTINET | 9-Feb-2021
Google’s Singapore subsidiary could use a controversial ISDS provision in the Singapore-Australia Free Trade Agreement to demand millions in compensation over proposed Australian regulation for payment of news content.
Australian Financial Review | 4-Feb-2021
Google and Facebook could sue the government for billions of dollars over a proposed law to force the digital giants to pay publishers for displaying news content, by seizing on investment clauses in the Australia-Singapore trade agreement.
The Guardian | 18-Dec-2020
Australian taxpayers could be on the hook for compensation following a dispute between the Western Australian government and Clive Palmer’s Mineralogy, federal budget papers reveal.
Mining Watch | 4-Dec-2020
Barrick is offering the government of Papua New Guinea to pause legal proceedings upon signing of a framework agreement to reverse the decision not to grant it a licence renewal for its former Porgera mine.
Business Recorder | 5-Nov-2020
National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Balochistan has collected irrefutable evidence revealing that billions of rupees have been lost to the national exchequer in the Reko Diq project after the bureau scrutinized its 30-year record.
Michael West | 27-Oct-2020
Australian mining companies are increasingly using ISDS processes and are being awarded billions based on dubious calculations of potential lost profits by unaccountable international tribunals.
First News | 10-Sep-2020
Australian mining firm Prairie Mining has launched international arbitration proceedings against Poland, claiming damages for the alleged hindering of the development of its two coal mines located in the country.
AFTINET | 3-Sep-2020
Australia, with its many Bilateral Investment Treaties and FTAs, contributes to a system of treaty shopping by mining companies looking to sue governments over unfavourable decisions.

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