India rejects EU, Canada’s attempts for global investment agreement

Source: The Economic Times, Jan 23, 2017

NEW DELHI: India will not allow investment to become part of any global agreement that allows investors to challenge governments in an international tribunal, commerce and industry minister Nirmala Sitharaman said on Monday.

“We have said no to any investment agreement in which companies can challenge governments,” she said after an informal meeting with ministers from Canada and EU in Davos last week.

EU and Canada have signed a Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement which has a new approach on investment protection and investment dispute settlement that moves towards establishing a permanent multilateral investment court.

“They want to make this a global template for resolving investor-state disputes…We rejected it completely. We are opposed to any multilateral approach to investment,” she said.

The proposal made at an informal breakfast meeting of trade ministers of select countries was also rejected by Argentina, Brazil and Japan.

However, EU is keen to negotiate the Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) with India before it begins talks on the Bilateral Trade and Investment Agreement (BTIA)- the much delayed comprehensive trade agreement with EU.

“EU is keen to have investment agreement negotiated before a trade agreement,” the minister said.

Last year, New Delhi had asked all countries with which India has investment protection agreements, including the EU, to re-negotiate those pacts on the basis of the new model text of BIT.

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