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Canada-EU talks mull trade investment court

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(GENEVA) - The EU Commission and Canada co-hosted Tuesday the first exploratory discussions with government representatives from around the world on establishing a multilateral investment court.

The aim is to establish a single permanent body to decide investment disputes, moving away from the ad hoc system of investor to state dispute settlement (ISDS) which is currently included in around 3200 investment treaties in force today – of which EU member states have 1400.

This future body would be open for all interested countries to join and would adjudicate disputes under both future and existing investment treaties. For EU level agreements, it would also replace the bilateral Investment Court Systems included in EU level agreements with FTA partners.

The discussions are intended to be the first in a series of meetings to take place in the coming year to move forward on this initiative.

The establishment of a multilateral investment court is seen an integral part of the EU's trade and investment strategy, Trade for all, presented in 2015. This involves in parallel the negotiation of a court-like system for resolving investment disputes in EU trade and investment agreements, the "Investment Court System", with a First Instance and an Appeal Tribunal with judges appointed by the agreement partners. As a second step, work should start in parallel with other countries on a permanent multilateral investment court to serve as a global court for investment disputes.

Both the Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (CETA) signed with Canada and the trade agreement concluded between the EU and Vietnam contain a reference to the establishment of a multilateral investment court. The EU includes similar references in all of its negotiations involving investment.

Questions and Answers on the future multilateral investment court

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