Armand de Mestral, McGill University professor and senior fellow at the Centre for International Governance Innovation, called the issue a “hot potato.”

“People have got the idea that investor-state arbitration is a taint to domestic sovereignty. … That is completely false. All you get is an order to pay damages,” he said, though conceding that “the public unhappiness is real, whether it’s bluster or not.”

He noted there are about 190 investment treaties between EU countries, many of which include dispute mechanisms. Belgium has more than 100. Canada has several with EU states, too. There aren’t any headlines about those, de Mestral...

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