From the FT last week:
Mr De Gucht said the negotiations to create what would be the world’s biggest free trade zone would be at risk if an investor-state dispute settlement mechanism was not part of the proposed deal.
“I doubt it,” he responded when asked if the pact could be concluded without the investor-state dispute provision. “It could very well be that you wouldn’t have an agreement any more.”
Is that a real assessment of the politics of the TTIP, or is it just spin designed to push for ISDS in the TTIP? Would big business drop support for the TTIP if it did not include ISDS-based investment rules?
My own assessment of the politics is very different. In my view, the TTIP only has a chance if ISDS (and perhaps IP as well) are excluded. With ISDS in there, the opponents are going to be so fired up that it will likely be rejected. But maybe that's just my own spin!
The article also says:
On Thursday [Mr. De Gucht] launched special public consultations aimed at convincing the European public that the arbitration provision is needed.
Let me offer up some advice here. As someone who is skeptical, and needs convincing, one of the big gaps I see in the case for international investment law in its current form is the lack of evidence of a widespread problem of bad treatment of foreign investments. Sure, there are a few anecdotes here and there, and a handful of countries are a problem. But by and large, the main problem I see with foreign investment is the lavish subsidies offered by governments to lure it in. The treatment of foreign investors is, on balance, too good! So, to convince people that investment rules, as they currently exist, are needed, I suggest the Commission put forward evidence of the problem it claims to be addressing.