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Asia and the Pacific Policy Society presents

 

Should Australia agree to investor-state dispute settlement in the Trans-Pacific Partnership?

 

Public lecture


When:

28th July 2015
12.30-1.30pm

Where:

Weston Theatre, Level 1, Crawford Building 132, Lennox Crossing, ANU

Speakers:

Emma Aisbett, Junior Professor for International Economics, University of Hamburg.

Cost:

Free

Investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) has emerged as possibly the most controversial aspect of deep and comprehensive trade agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

ISDS is particularly controversial in countries such as Australia, the US and Germany where it has been used to challenge popular public policies aimed at health or environmental protection (respectively cigarette packing, chemical bans and nuclear phase-out). Investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) has emerged as possibly the most controversial aspect of deep and comprehensive trade agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership. The argument made by proponents of ISDS is typically that it encourages more foreign investment, and that more foreign investment is good for the economy. Professor Emma Aisbett will show that neither of these arguments is well supported by the economic literature. Firstly, there is no empirical evidence to support the claim that ISDS will boost inward investment to Australia. Secondly, in the Australian setting, ISDS is more likely to exaggerate than ameliorate market failures. Thus any increase in investment which did occur would most likely be welfare reducing for Australia as a whole. Globally, the popularity of investment agreements and ISDS appears to be driven more by political and political-economic forces than any economic efficiency rationale.

Emma Aisbett is currently Junior Professor for International Economics at the University of Hamburg. She has made both theoretical and empirical contributions to the study of international investment agreements which have been published in international journals of economics, political science, and law. Her submission to the Productivity Commission’s Review of Bilateral and Regional Trade Agreements was evidently influential in the Commission’s recommendation that Australia not include ISDS in trade agreements.

Emma graduated from the University of New South Wales in Chemical Engineering with a University Medal. She holds an MSc in Environmental Change and Management from Oxford University, and a PhD in Applied Economics from the University of California, Berkeley.

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