Richard Bruton says TTIP deal has safeguards for investors

Some groups are concerned that deal could provide for investor-state dispute settlement

Minister for Enterprise Richard Bruton: said the EU had yet to publish its proposals. Photograph : Matt Kavanagh/The Irish Times

Minister for Enterprise Richard Bruton: said the EU had yet to publish its proposals. Photograph : Matt Kavanagh/The Irish Times

 

Measures to protect investors in the proposed EU-US trade accord are unlikely to override the Republic’s own courts and legal system, Minister for Enterprise Richard Bruton has told TDs and Senators.

The EU and US are to begin talks on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership designed to reduce barriers to trade between the two that could potentially create up to 10,000 new jobs in the Republic and boost its economy by €2 billion a-year.

But various groups have voiced concern at the likelihood the deal could provide for investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS). This allows investors in one country to bring the government of another before arbitration proceedings.

Mr Bruton said the EU had yet to publish its proposals, but said if such provision made it into any agreement, it would be unlikely to affect the Republic’s legal system or override the Constitution.

Rare cases

Speaking a meeting of three joint Oireachtas committees – agriculture, enterprise and European affairs – Mr Bruton said investors would probably only be able to go down the ISDS route in very limited circumstances.

They would first have to show they had suffered damage to their interests, and then that there had been a breach of fair procedures and/or discrimination.

He said the benefits of an agreement to the State should outweigh negatives. He conceded the beef industry could face opportunities and threats, but it would boost sectors such as nutrients, dairy and pharmaceuticals.