Defending Investor Protections in Trade Agreements

Shaun Donnelly
Shaun Donnelly

Investment protections such as the Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) mechanism have become the most contentious aspect of many ongoing trade deals, including the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP). Shaun Donnelly, USCIB vice president for investment and financial services, traveled around Europe this week defending strong investment policies in U.S. trade agreements.

On March 14, Business and Industry Advisory Committee (BIAC) to the OECD Investment Committee Chair Winand Quaedvlieg and Donnelly led business panelists in an all-day OECD conference on “Investment Treaties: the Quest for Balance.” NGO, labor and academic speakers pressed for radical changes and reduced protections ‎in investment agreements. Donnelly’s panel focused on possible changes in the ISDS regime, including the EU’s proposed investment court and appellate body system.

“I argued the U.S. model BIT already offers a balanced investment regime and that many so-called reforms were simply political attacks on investor rights and protections,” Donnelly said. “I, along with other speakers and participants, was skeptical of the EU’s ‎proposals to abandon the ISDS arbitration system.”

USTR’s lead investment negotiator for TTIP, Jai Motwane, was a co-panelist with very similar positions. Senior State Department Investment policy makers Lisa Kubiske and Michael Tracton spoke on other panels.

Donnelly attended other consultations throughout the week in Paris, both formal and informal, on investment issues with OECD Investment Committee members, senior OECD staff, and country delegations. He participated in the OECD’s special ministerial meeting on Anti-Bribery on March 16 with Klaus Moosmayer from Siemens, Chair of the BIAC Task Force on Anti-Bribery and Corruption. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch led the U.S. Delegation to the special ministerial meeting.

Donnelly wrapped up in The Hague‎ on Friday, representing USCIB at the International Chamber of Commerce’s Trade and Investment Commission, chaired by USCIB member Jim Bacchus (Greenburg Traurig). USCIB has contributed to major ICC policy papers on investment and cross-border data flows that were discussed at the meeting.

Read BIAC’s media release: Curbing Bribery and Providing a Level Playing Field for International Business

Staff Contact:   Alice Slayton Clark

Director, Investment, Trade and China
Tel: 202.682.0051

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