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To CETA or not to CETA: Reflections on ISDS and the special responsibility of national parliaments

In a reaction to an EJIL: Talk! post by Baetens et al., Arcuri et al. claim that the Dutch parliament has the right to reject CETA and also argue in favour of it doing so. The post by Arcuri et al. raises important points that merit further discussion, among legal academics and practitioners, politicians, and citizens. We would like to broaden the discussion on three points in particular. First, without questioning the right of the Dutch parliament to reject or endorse CETA, it merits pointing out that the scope of this right is not all encompassing. Second, on the issue of the ISDS regime that is included in CETA we argue that the decision to accept or reject it should be informed by a thorough knowledge of both the law and practice of ISDS. Third and finally, we argue that it is useful to take a step back and ask the question whether comprehensive trade agreements, such as CETA, need to be concluded as mixed agreements to begin with.

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Expropriating democracy: on the right and legitimacy of not ratifying CETA

In May 2020, the unwinding saga in CETA’s ratification landed in a divided Dutch Senate. The date of the decisive vote in the Senate is dependent on the government’s response to questions raised by senators. Academics have suggested that the Netherlands should ratify CETA because not doing so ‘would be a very negative signal’ ‘in today’s crumbling…

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Hacking Humanitarians? IHL and the protection of humanitarian organizations against cyber operations

For some years, experts have cautioned that the more humanitarian organizations collect data, the more they ‘are exposed to a growing wave of digital attacks and cyber espionage, and have become highly prized targets’. In late January 2020, the issue made headlines: The New Humanitarian reported a ‘sophisticated’ cyber operation…

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Life Without the WTO – Part II: Looking to the Everyday

Editors' Note: This is the second post of a two part series by EJIL:Talk Contributing Editor Michael Fakhri. Part I can be found here. In this second post I want to provide two examples of how life might look like without the WTO. One could do this in a myriad of ways and my…

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The Renegotiated “NAFTA”: What Is In It for Labor Rights?

On 1 October 2018, the draft text of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (Draft USMCA), the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)’s successor, was published on the official website of the United States Trade Representative. The Agreement has still some way to go though, including extensive legal ‘scrubbing’ by national authorities and, most importantly, approval by the corresponding national legislatures,…

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