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Dispute settlement | Brussels, 22 November 2018

SPEECH: Commissioner Malmström lays out EU plans for a multilateral investment court

Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmström today outlined how the EU is leading the way towards the multilateral reform of the investor-state-dispute-settlement (ISDS) system.

States all over the world have identified problems with the current system. The EU believes that systemic reform is how we can address these concerns, with the creation of a permanent body to resolve disputes – a multilateral investment court" said Commissioner Malmström at a High Level Event hosted by the Belgian Minister for Foreign Affairs, Didier Reynders. The event was attended among others by Anna Joubin Bret, the Secretary of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) and Meg Kinnear, the Secretary General of the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID).

In her speech, Commissioner Malmström updated participants on the current state of discussions at the United Nations (UNCITRAL): over 400 delegates representing more than 90 countries gathered in Vienna three weeks ago agreed by consensus that reform of ISDS is needed. The EU has long argued that the current system is not fit for purpose and has integrated its new Investment Court System into its recent trade and investment agreements with Canada, Mexico, Singapore and Vietnam.

These agreements are crucial stepping stones towards multilateral reform of the investment system. A permanent multilateral investment court with an appeal mechanism and full-time adjudicators would enhance predictability and consistency, ensure correctness, eliminate the ethical concerns in the current system and effectively address the problem of excessive costs and duration. For more information on the state of play on the multilateral investment court, see the dedicated website.

Read the speech