The Missing Link: Direct Effect, CETA/TTIP and Investor-State Dispute Settlement

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Series Details 07.01.15
Publication Date 07/01/2015
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International treaties have rarely received more attention than the proposed free trade deals between the EU and the US and Canada. This entails that many law students and practitioners are confronted with a theme that does not feature prominently in legal education. In debates with students, I realise that preconceptions about the functioning of domestic legal systems are regularly projected upon the international sphere. One example is a demand that companies should challenge state action before domestic courts instead of dispute settlement bodies under the planned EU/US agreement (TTIP) and the proposed EU/Canada trade agreement (CETA). These claims often assume that national courts hold the competence to enforce corresponding rules. For lawyers working on domestic issues it seems self-evident that courts can apply the law.

Against this background, this blogpost focuses on a provision in the Draft CETA with Canada (Article 14.14: see the text below), whose relevance has not been acknowledged so far, including by the stimulating contributions to the Verfassungsblog Symposium on Investment Protection. On page 470 of the roughly 1600 pages of the consolidated CETA Draft Agreement, which the Commission regards as a template for free trade negotiations with the United States, we come across a final provision of seemingly minor relevance on ‘private rights’, which rejects the applicability of the agreement en passant. This reaffirms that the implications of the free trade deals would be less dramatic than some suggest.

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ESO: Key Source: Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP)

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