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.

(April 2020)

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.
Lexology | 3-Sep-2020
The Australian Federal Government has announced it is reviewing the bilateral investment treaties (BITs) to which Australia is a party.
Reuters | 1-Sep-2020
Barrick Gold Corp has lost a court challenge in Papua New Guinea over rights to a highlands gold mine and intends to appeal to the country’s Supreme Court.
Mining.com | 28-Aug-2020
Canada’s Barrick Gold said it would challenge the Papua New Guinea government alleged move to grant a 20-year lease for the Porgera gold mine to a state-backed firm.
Reuters | 10-Jul-2020
Canadian miner Barrick Gold Corp said it served a dispute notice to the Papua New Guinea government over the country’s refusal to extend a mining lease in the Porgera valley.

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