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14 March 2014
Transatlantic trade talks hit German snag
By Shawn Donnan in Brussels and Stefan Wagstyl in Berlin
Germany has introduced a stumbling block to landmark EU-US trade negotiations by insisting that any pact must exclude a contentious dispute settlement provision.
The “investor-state dispute settlement” mechanism, or ISDS, would allow private investors to sue governments if they felt local laws threatened their investments. Public opposition to its inclusion has grown in both Europe and the US since the launch last year of negotiations over a transatlantic trade area.
Earlier this year, the European Commission suspended negotiations over the ISDS clause to allow for a 90-day public consultation exercise, expected to be launched within days.
That move was intended to help defuse some of the opposition and explain why an arbitration mechanism was needed. But opposition to ISDS has only grown since then.
Now, in the biggest blow yet to those seeking its inclusion in the deal, Berlin has decided that it will push for the exclusion of the ISDS provisions in the deal.
Read the full piece.