European Commission and Canadian Government co-host discussions on a multilateral investment court

The European Commission and Canadian Government are today and tomorrow co-hosting in Geneva the first exploratory discussions with government representatives from around the world on the establishment of a multilateral investment court. It will be the first meeting at government-to-government level on this initiative since it was first proposed by the Commission in May 2015. The ultimate aim is to establish a single permanent body to decide investment disputes, thus moving away from the ad hoc system of investor to state dispute settlement (ISDS) which is currently included in around 3200 investment treaties in force today – of which EU member states have 1400. This future body would be open for all interested countries to join and would adjudicate disputes under both future and existing investment treaties. For EU level agreements, it would also replace the bilateral Investment Court Systems included in EU level agreements with FTA partners. The discussions today and tomorrow are intended to be the first in a series of meetings to take place in the coming year to move forward on this important initiative. Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström and Canada’s Minister for International Trade Chrystia Freeland also intend to discuss the multilateral investment court initiative with other trade ministers in the margins of the World Economic Forum in Davos on 20 January 2017.