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2012-06-20  |  Janet Eaton

JEFF GRAY - LAW REPORTER, The Globe and Mail,  Jun. 01 2012, 12:13 PM EDT

Canada has lost a battle with Exxon Mobil Corp. and Murphy Oil Corp. before a NAFTA arbitration panel over whether the U.S. companies can be forced to boost their research-and-development spending in Newfoundland.

The two companies, involved in the Terra Nova and Hibernia oil projects off the shores of Newfoundland, sued Ottawa in 2007 under the North American free-trade agreement’s long-controversial Chapter 11 provisions, which allow U.S. and Mexican investors in Canada to challenge government policies.

A panel of international arbitrators ruled 2-1, with the Canadian appointee dissenting, that research-spending rules imposed by Newfoundland’s oil regulator in 2004 were “performance requirements” forbidden by NAFTA.

The decision, which was first reported on the New York-based website Investment Arbitration Reporter, has not been publicly released....

2012-06-20  |  Janet Eaton

“The fact that corporate attacks on a sovereign country’s domestic environmental policy before a foreign tribunal would even be possible – much less cost a country millions when a key element of the attack is dismissed – highlights what is wrong with our ‘trade’ agreement model,” said Lori Wallach, director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch. “These investor rules are an outrageous example of how ‘trade’ pacts have been stuffed with special-interest terms that empower corporate attacks on basic democratic public interest policymaking at home and abroad.”

WASHINGTON, D.C. – A tribunal constituted under the Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) ruled that Pacific Rim Mining Corp. could proceed with half of its attack on an El Salvadoran mining law strongly supported in that country by the left and right political parties and the Catholic Church. Given the extraordinary facts of this case,...

2012-05-31  |  Janet Eaton

A more predictable and stable investment environment in Africa will contribute to jobs and growth for all, says Minister Fast

May 30, 2012 - The Honourable Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway, and the Honourable John Baird, Minister of Foreign Affairs, today announced the launch of negotiations toward foreign investment promotion and protection agreements (FIPAs) between Canada and both Benin and Burkina Faso.

“When I met with the heads of African missions to Canada several months ago, I promised that we would intensify our engagement with and commitment to Africa,” said Minister Fast. “That is why I am very pleased to demonstrate this commitment by announcing that Canada has officially launched FIPA negotiations with both Burkina Faso and Benin.”

African countries are among the world’s fastest-growing economies. Last year, GDP growth in sub-Saharan Africa...

2012-05-30  |  Janet Eaton

Posted: 29 May 2012 03:34 PM PDT

At the May 13th stakeholder briefing of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade talks outside Dallas, at least six countries' Chief Negotiators began to openly distance themselves from the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR), particularly from USTR’s radical intellectual property (IP) proposals, which would expand the scope and duration of pharmaceutical monopolies and challenge internet freedom.

In the past, these stakeholder briefings have felt like exercises in the art of saying little. USTR has sought to keep all nine countries on a common, limited message. But perhaps USTR can only push other countries and the public so far....

2012-05-30  |  Janet Eaton

OTTAWA — The Harper government has named a group of eminent business
leaders to an advisory panel that will help craft a new global
commerce strategy to be released next year.
International Trade Minister Ed Fast, in a speech Tuesday to the
Canadian Chamber of Commerce, announced the Conservative government's
updated commerce strategy will guide Canada's trade priorities for the
coming years, as Ottawa looks to negotiate or finalize free-trade and
investment deals with the European Union, India, China and the Trans-
Pacific Partnership bloc of Asia-Pacific nations.

But as the Conservatives trumpet an ambitious new trade plan, members of
its own advisory committee have warned the government is protecting an
antiquated supply management system that is hurting the economy.

The government's new global commerce strategy, expected to be ready in
2013, will focus...

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