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)

| 5-Feb-2013
The Supreme Court recently declared void and illegal a mining deal for the Reko Diq copper project signed 20 years ago between the Balochistan government and international mining companies.
Infojustice.org | 3-Dec-2012
Australia’s new stance against investor-State arbitration may do nothing to prevent claims being brought in the future.
| 26-Nov-2012
The Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources (MoPNR) has written a letter to Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf to persuade the Balochistan government to settle the Reko Diq issue out of court, fearing a penalty of Rs39 billion by the International Centre for Settlement Investment Disputes (ICSID).
Troy Media | 15-Nov-2012
Much of the debate surrounding the Canada-China trade deal revolves around the dispute settlement clause in the deal. Troy Media contacted Professor Thomas Faunce of the Australian National University in Canberra to explain why the Australian government decided to discontinue the practise of seeking inclusion of investor state dispute settlement provisions in trade agreements with developing countries.
| 11-Sep-2012
Delegates attending trans-Pacific free-trade negotiations in the United States are being warned their countries could end up like Australia if they agree to allow corporations to sue governments in international courts.
| 21-May-2012
Smoking is bad for our health. Smoking is detrimental to our economic well-being - smoking-related conditions and diseases cost the health service in this country millions and millions of dollars each year. But moves to reduce or stop smoking in this country could cost us just as much if not more.
Sydney Morning Herald | 5-Mar-2012
The federal government is standing firm against Australian and US business demands that it allow controversial dispute settlement clauses into an ambitious new Pacific free trade deal.
| 9-Feb-2012
In a stinging indictment of the slow speed with which the higher judiciary decides cases and lackadaisical manner in which the government deals with disputes involving foreign companies doing business in India, a three-member international arbitration panel has decided a case against the Government of India and a PSU.
Philip Morris Ltd | 20-Dec-2011
"We believe plain packaging violates the Australian Constitution because the Government is seeking to acquire our property without paying compensation," the company states
Canberra Times | 25-Nov-2011
Despite the compelling rationale that the public has a stake, Philip Morris’ claims will not be heard in an Australian court by respected judges, but by an ad-hoc tribunal that will meet in Singapore or another foreign country.

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