ISDS - a priority in the EU trade policy?

Should the EU drop its ambition to have ISDS in TTIP - and perhaps in other trade agreements too? Investor protection has become a hut-button issue in EU trade politics, but few in the debate come with facts-based arguments. In a recent ECIPE publication experts have surveyed the recent decade of ISDS activity and found that the cases has continued to grow, and that the growth is concentrated to certain sectors with a high degree of government involvement or political patronage. Martina Ferracane and Fredrik Erixon have also commented on the role of ISDS in contemporary EU trade agreements with the focus on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Agreement. In a previous work ECIPE has also analyzed ‘Repsol case’ in Argentina and its impact on investment protection issues. ECIPE has also recently launched a Twitter debate on ISDS provision in the EU trade agreement. Follow the discussion via #ECIPEdebates.

In focus

EU-China settle telecom equipment dispute

The European Commission and Chinese Ministry of Commerce announced on October 20 - separately - that a settlement had been reached that ends the EU CVD case against Chinese telecom equipment. Europe’s first ex officio investigation on Chinese subsidies quickly evolved into a matter of national prestige, internal divide and a two-year long episode of trade war. ECIPE scholars have commented on the case in various publications and in the media.

ECIPE is recruiting!

We are now looking for a Research Assistant for our Spring Internships Programme. If you are a recent Master's Graduate with interest in trade policy and political economy visit our website for more information and application deadline!

Next-generation trade defence: government-sponsored patent funds?

While there is an increasing interest for FTA disciplines that restricts state-owned enterprises, there is less debate on governments using intellectual property to engage in discriminatory industrial policy against foreign competition. A new report by Patrick Messerlin and Hosuk Lee-Makiyama points to how some SPFs, like France Brevets, even admit to being retaliatory or discriminatory instruments against foreign actors regardless of whether the original claim is legitimate or not. Such use of patents threatens to become a new trade defence instrument.

Investing in Obesity Treatment would Reduce Healthcare Spending

The obesity rate is growing fast – in Europe and around the world – and no government has effective policies for preventing obesity to increase healthcare expenditures. Yet while governments have been slow to react, medical scientists have now a good view of “what works” and “what doesn’t work” in policies to reduce obesity. A new study by ECIPE economists estimates that European countries stand to make huge savings in future healthcare expenditures if they use effective lifestyle weight management programmes to treat obesity today. If governments invest in smart obesity treatment, the UK and Spain could reduce healthcare expenditures related to obesity in 2030 by 10 and 12 percent. Germany could save around 6 percent while Sweden could “save” as much as 55 percent of future healthcare expenditures related to obesity.

How Can Europe Respond to an Authoritarian Russia?

Russia’s invasion of Crimea has sent shock waves through the international community but is not surprising in light of the Kremlin’s authoritarian and imperialistic ideology. As was shown in two papers by Fredrik Erixon and Iana Dreyer, Russia has been building military and economic statecraft on the back of its energy riches – and the EU has been far too weak to diminish its economic dependency on Russia. Broad economic sanctions by the EU is therefore highly unlikely, even if Russia’s investment in and export to Europe is so big that sanctions could put Russia Inc out of business. As Hosuk Lee-Makiyama has argued, economic sanctions usually do not work. And what it is important now for the EU, in addition to shaping a response to the Crimean occupation, is to reshape its approach to Russia with the effect of cutting its dependency on an authoritarian regime.

Latest Publications

ECIPE Bulletin No. 12/2014
The ECB’s Ad hoc Monetary Policy: Will its Lack of Forward Guidance Finally Burst the Eurozone?
By Matthias Bauer
Summary | Download (PDF)

ECIPE Working Paper No. 02/2014
A FRIENDLY FIRE ON ECONOMIC RECOVERY: A Methodology to Estimate the Costs of Data Regulations
By Erik van der Marel, Hosuk Lee-Makiyama, Matthias Bauer
Summary | Download (PDF)

ECIPE Policy Brief No. 08/2014
Can Plurilateralism Save the Bali Agreement on Trade Facilitation?
By Stuart Harbinson
Summary | Download (PDF)

ECIPE Policy Brief No. 07/2014
Les Fonds Souverains de Brevets (FSB) :Un nouvel instrument de défense commerciale?
By Hosuk Lee-Makiyama, Patrick Messerlin
Summary | Download (PDF)

ECIPE Policy Brief No. 06/2014
Sovereign Patent Funds (SPFs): Next-generation trade defence?
By Hosuk Lee-Makiyama, Patrick Messerlin
Summary | Download (PDF)

Upcoming Events

ECIPE Seminar: Can plurilateralism save the Bali agreement on trade facilitation?
The new package of trade accords that was concluded at the World Trade Organisation’s Bali Ministerial Meeting late last year was a fresh start for the battered international trade body. Yet defeat has been snatched from the jaws of victory. A small number of countries refuses to agree on a protocol for the Bali deal on trade facilitation – and the entire agreement is now endangered.
Speakers: Stuart Harbinson
More information

ECIPE Seminar: The political and economic power of Russian energy in Europe: Who is really on top?
Europe is dependent on Russian gas for its energy supply. Yet is Europe really so dependent that its energy import should influence its general policy vis-à-vis Russia? While the popular image suggests the Kremlin to get its way in Europe by wielding its energy weapon – e.g. threats of gas cuts – the reality is that Europe has an increasing capacity to substitute Russian gas. Russia, too, has an economic interest to avoid a disruption that could put the country’s heavy energy investments in Europe at risk.
Speakers: Matthew Bryza, Fredrik Erixon
More information

Past events

Articles, Opinion and Commentary

Hongkong och Kina: ett land, två internet [Hong Kong and China: One country, two internet]
Op-Ed by Hosuk Lee-Makiyama in SvD on Occupy Central and China’s censorship [Swedish]

EU–USA-vapaakauppaneuvottelut junnaavat – "ei naimisiin ensitreffien jälkeen” [No progress in EU-US free trade negotiations – “No marriage after the first date”]
YLE TV & Radio interviews Hosuk Lee-Makiyama on the TTIP talks [Finnish]

Assessment of TTIP State of Play for Services, Investment and Data Flows
Georgetown CBPP paper by Brad Jensen, Bob Vastine and Hosuk Lee-Makiyama

G20 recommendations by the participants in the Third EU-Asia Roundtable
Group recommendations by EU, Chinese, Korean, Japanese and Australian economists for the G20

How Asian cities stay ahead
Razeen Sally and Janamitra Devan on the competitiveness of Asian cities in The Straits Times

More articles