From Eyes on Trade:
Today's edition of Inside U.S. Trade (subscription only) reports that the Prime Minister of New Zealand, one of the negotiating parties of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), stated that a NAFTA-style investor-state lawsuit provision will likely be excluded from the TPP:
In a Nov. 15 press conference, New Zealand Prime Minister John Key said it was a "far-fetched" idea that a Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement would contain an investor-state dispute settlement mechanism, according to a video of that New Zealand press conference posted on the prime minister's website.
The Prime Minister's statements add greater momentum to the effort to exclude investor-state enforcement provisions from the TPP. Another TPP negotiating partner - Australia - today breathes easier because its "free trade" agreement with the United States excluded investor-state enforcement.
The Prime Minister has unintentionally made a significant announcement on New Zealand's approach to negotiating the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP).
Late Monday the Prime Minister was asked whether New Zealand would follow Australia's lead and resist rules in the TPP, which exist in other US trade agreements, allowing investors to sue foreign governments to enforce investor rights.
John Key said that he'd imagine New Zealand would take Australia's approach, saying the idea was far-fetched.
How important was this statement? One NZ commentator didn't think it meant all that much:
Asked this week about the possibility the TPP would also include it, Prime Minister John Key dismissed the idea as "far-fetched".
But his reaction sounded more like "I have only just encountered this idea, but I wouldn't have thought so" than "I have looked into this and I can assure you it won't happen".
Haveing seen the video, I see his point. You can watch for yourself, though. The video is here. The relevant portion starts a little after 38 minutes.
Speaking of investor-state, the last post suggested that investment (in particular investor-state dispute settlement) was something that some members of Congress want to re-think in the Korea-U.S. FTA. So what's the Korean view of this? Via Ben Muse, I see this:
Seoul, however, will not exclude the maligned investor-state dispute settlement clause, which allows a private investor to legally challenge a host government`s public policy.
A high-ranking Korean Foreign Ministry official said, “The government believes that the investor-state dispute settlement mechanism is not a poison clause but something Korea needs. We won’t cover it in our next round of negotiations.”
I'm a little confused by the language used, but I think they are saying they want to keep it in, and would consider removing it a concession on their part.