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April 27, 2012

Korean Supreme Court urges renegotiation of investor-state clause; expresses concerns of “extreme legal chaos”

An English language Korean newspaper broke some startling news earlier this week. See the full story here.

In 2006, the Supreme Court in Korea submitted an opinion to the government recommending a renegotiation of the investor-state clause, citing concerns that the dispute system could lead to “extreme legal chaos” resulting from increased arbitration requests from U.S. investors.

Five years (and a negotiated trade deal) later, the court’s request has finally been disclosed.

The document warns against problems of sovereignty infringement, extreme investor rights, and legal instability. It also notes that “whether or not to introduce an investor-state dispute system is a decision to be made after the sufficient gathering of opinions from the South Korean public.”
(See here for more on that.) Apparently, one of the bases for their concern was a NAFTA case brought against the U.S., which we detail here.

And according to the article,

The South Korean government announced that it would be renegotiating investment-related provisions in the KORUS FTA with the US within 90 days of its effective date of Mar. 15. It has had a task force working since March on a negotiation draft.

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