Yesterday I asked expert witnesses on the Finance and Constitution Committee about Investor- State Dispute Settlements and their potential inclusion in future trade deals negotiated by the UK Government on behalf of Scotland, in a session focusing on the UK Trade Bill.
Ash Denham MSP has called on the Secretary of State for International Trade Liam Fox to preclude any commitments to investor-state dispute settlements in the UK Trade Bill.
Expert witnesses at the Finance and Constitution Committee today raised concerns that the UK Trade Bill remains unclear over the potential use of investor-state dispute settlements in any future trade agreements to settle international trade disputes.
Investor-state dispute settlements are an instrument of international law that enables international corporations to sue host states for alleged discriminatory practices, such as loss of profits stemming from public policy.
The Trade Bill as currently drafted would grant the UK Government sweeping powers to negotiate future trade deals on Scotland’s behalf- including in areas that are devolved to the Scottish Parliament such as agriculture and health. But at present the Bill contains no provisions for allowing parliamentary scrutiny by Holyrood.