On May 26, at the Hard Rock Cafe in Stockholm, Annette Magnusson, Secretary General of the Arbitration Institute of the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce, and Katarina Areskoug Mascarenhas, Head of the European Commission's Representation in Sweden, provided context and the current state of play for the Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) provision in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) agreement.
After introductions by Peter R. Dahlen, Managing Director of AmCham Sweden, Magnusson began by providing a historical perspective for ISDS, and how international agreements between states have been written. She also described how agreements are regulated by international law, and why ISDS offers advantages to a public court system in many instances.
As Dahlen explained in his opening remarks, forms of investor dispute agreements have been in place for centuries, beginning with the Magna Carta. Today, ISDS is included in more than 3,000 international agreements, and the arbitration framework was first ratified in 1958, and later in 1976. As Magnusson explained, what ISDS boils down to is having predictable rules of laws that states have to be accountable for.
As negotiations have progressed between the EU and U.S. with TTIP over the past year-and-a-half, ISDS has become mentioned with more frequency in media reports. Areskoug Mascarenhas provided updates for ways that the European Commission is now proposing for ISDS in TTIP. The first is the right to regulate in the public interest. Second is a course of action for improving arbitral tribunals. The inclusion of an appellate mechanism is also being recommended. Finally, ways of improving the relationship between ISDS and domestic courts is also being pursued.