Investor-State Dispute Settlements (ISDS) and the COVID 19 Pandemic
Initial response –
Many thanks for your email and for making Siobhan aware of your views regarding Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS).
Siobhan is now on maternity leave. As her office, we are continuing to raise and represent the views of her constituents. If you would like to know more about Siobhan's work and details of how we are conducting matters during her maternity leave, please see her website https://www.siobhanbaillie.org.uk/
Please note that Siobhan usually provides full and personalised responses to all campaign issues raised. Siobhan has received several emails in a similar vein to yours and as her office we have contacted the Minister to raise these concerns. As soon as we hear back we will contact you.
We hope you are well. We are assisting constituents during this difficult time and if there is anything we can do to help you during this pandemic, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Keep well and safe.
Ministers Response -
I write on behalf of Siobhan Baillie MP. Siobhan is currently on maternity leave and as her office we are continuing to raise the views of her constituents.
We hope you are keeping well at this difficult time. We are assisting constituents during the Covid 19 pandemic and if we can help you at all, please do let us know.
Siobhan raised your concerns and she has now heard back from the Department regarding your concerns. Please see the response below from Ranil Jayawardena MP dated 22 July:
"Thank you for your correspondence of 20th July on behalf of your constituents, regarding investor-state dispute settlements (ISDS) and the COVID-19 pandemic. The Secretary of State has asked me to reply as this matter falls within my brief.
Investment in and from the United Kingdom has enormous benefits for the British economy. From pension funds to high-tech manufacturing, individual savers to SMEs, investment supports thousands of jobs and adds billions of pounds to the economy. British investors overseas contribute to the economic development of states across the world, bolstering international trade and security, and supporting global prosperity. British investment in developing countries creates jobs, supports local communities, and generates sustainable economic growth.
The United Kingdom already has over 90 Bilateral Investment Treaties (BITs) with investment protection provisions where both parties make binding commitments regarding the treatment of each other's investors. These are designed to make sure that investors - including, for instance, British pensioners - are protected from discrimination, unfair treatment and from having their assets expropriated without compensation at fair market value.
These commitments are backed by an ISDS mechanism, offering investors an independent means of legal redress in the event of a breach. ISDS tribunals cannot overrule the sovereignty of Parliament or overturn or force any changes to law; they can only award compensation if a foreign investor's rights under the treaty have been breached - if the investor is found to have been treated in an arbitrary and discriminatory manner, for example.
HM Government recognises the importance of strengthening international investment in response to COVID-19, and the continuing important role played by both investment protection and ISDS provisions in safeguarding British investors overseas. We are clear that Britain and our treaty partners retain the right to regulate in the public interest, including for public health purposes that are already recognised under international law. There has never been a successful ISDS claim against the United Kingdom, nor has the threat of potential claims affected our legislation.
As HM Government made clear in the G20 Trade and Investment Ministers statement of 30th March, we are committed to monitoring and assessing the impact of the COVID19 crisis on trade and investment. We must seek to mitigate its impacts on international trade and investment, so we will continue to champion free trade to the benefit of the British people - and people the world over - securing more jobs, greater choice in goods, and lower prices.
I hope this letter is helpful to you and your constituents. "
Thank you again for taking the time to raise this issue with Siobhan. If we can be of further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us.