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<xTITLE>Joe Biden declares his opposition to private corporations having access to 'Special' ISDS Tribunals</xTITLE>

Joe Biden declares his opposition to private corporations having access to 'Special' ISDS Tribunals

by Indraneel Gunjal
July 2020 Indraneel Gunjal

The former Vice President, Joe Biden seems to be changing his position on investor-state dispute resolution (ISDS) from the one he had adopted during his tenure in the Obama administration. In response to a questionnaire from the United Steelworkers Union (USW), the likely Democratic nominee for the 2020 election said that he is against the inclusion of investor-state arbitration provisions in future trade agreements if they can potentially weaken U.S. labor, health, and environmental policies.

Biden wrote, "I don't believe that corporations should get special tribunals that are not available to other organizations. I oppose the ability of private corporations to attack labor, health, and environmental policies through the investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) process, and I oppose the inclusion of such provisions in future trade agreements."

Biden's statement appears to be the first time that he has taken a strong position on this issue during his candidacy and is somewhat a departure from the Obama administration's policy of including ISDS provisions in trade agreements such as in the erstwhile Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement which contained an ISDS mechanism.

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Indraneel Gunjal is an attorney from India and an advanced degree graduate from Stanford Law School, Class of 2020 with a specialization in International Economic Law, Business & Policy. Before joining Stanford, he worked with the Trade Policy Division of the Department of Commerce, Government of India where he was a member of the legal team representing India in its inter-state trade and investment disputes, Free Trade Agreement (FTA) negotiations, and also tasked with formulating and reviewing its trade policy.

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