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US backs existing arbitration procedures for foreign investors

The EU-US are unlikely to meet a year-end deadline to wrap up talks on their free trade deal, which is called the Transatlantic Trade and Investment PartnershipA senior US official on Monday defended current mechanisms in place to resolve disputes with foreign investors, amid EU calls for the creation of an investment court in a bid to resolve a controversial issue holding up a massive EU-US free trade deal. The EU’s trade commissioner Cecilia Malmstroem last week proposed creating an international investment court to allay concerns among Europeans that the arbitration panel foreseen in the deal would effectively allow companies to bypass national courts if they feel their investments are under threat. “The criticisms that they undermine governments’ right to regulate, I think are just misguided,” Selig said during a visit to Paris when asked about Malmstroem’s proposals. A US Commerce Department official told AFP later on Monday that Selig’s remarks did not mean he rejected the EU’s proposal “as he has not seen the proposal in order to offer a view or speak to the merits of any such proposal”.

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