The Trans Atlantic Consumer Dialogue is holding a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) Stakeholder Forum today, featuring a morning panel on investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS). Health Action International’s Joel Lexchin asked European Chief Negotiator Ignacio Garcia Bercero if the proposed ISDS rules would allow court rulings over intellectual property to be grounds for a dispute by a drug company against a government. He noted that this issue has held up the completion of the EU’s trade agreement with Canada.
(The government of Canada has been sued by Eli Lilly under the North American Free Trade Agreement’s ISDS rules, and it hopes to keep IP+ISDS out of its agreement with Europe. For more on these negotiations, see this article by Gaëlle Krikorian on the EU Greens’ TTIP blog).
Bercero said that “in principle nothing excludes this.” To determine whether something could be grounds for an ISDS case, you’d ask broader questions: Was there a lack of fair and equal treatment? Was there discrimination against a foreign firm by a host country. These would apply regardless of the particular situation at hand.