Tomorrow’s RCEP Meeting the First Test for Labour & NZ First on ISDS in Future Deals
‘Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has called the controversial investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) mechanism “a dog”
and promised to exclude it from New Zealand’s future agreements. The first test of that position will come at tomorrow’s
meeting of trade ministers involved in the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement on the margins
of the East Asian Summit in Manila’, says Auckland University law professor Jane Kelsey.
The trade ministers from the 16 countries are meant to be providing direction for future rounds of negotiations. It
appears that New Zealand will be represented by Prime Minister, Foreign Minister Winston Paters and Associate Trade
Minister Damien O’Connor.
According to Professor Kelsey, the leaked RCEP investment text from 2015 showed that New Zealand had not taken a
position on ISDS. However, she understands that New Zealand has since supported its inclusion.
‘Contrary to what Trade Minister David Parker claims, Labour capitulated in the revised Trans-Pacific Partnership
Agreement by accepting special rules that protect foreign investors and their right to enforce them through ISDS.’
‘This coming RCEP meeting will be the real litmus test of whether Labour intends to keep its word for future deals. It
will also be a test for Winston Peters resolve to achieve one of New Zealand First’s flagship policies’
‘We need to hear from the government what it plans to do’.