Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS)

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Investment rules, enforced through ISDS, provide vital recourse against unfair treatment and must continue to be a priority in new trade agreements. 

– Linda Dempsey, NAM Vice President of International Economic Affairs

What You Need to Know

Investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) provisions in U.S. trade agreements have important and positive benefits for sustaining and growing manufacturing in the United States.

By reaching millions of new customers, foreign investment strengthens America’s manufacturing base, spurring approximately 50 percent of exports and supporting American jobs, research and development and capital investment.

ISDS protects U.S. businesses by ensuring that the most basic rule-of-law guarantees found in the U.S. Constitution are accorded to U.S. businesses when they engage overseas.

The NAM supports basic guarantees of due process, fair treatment and nondiscrimination to basic property protections that are backed up with a neutral, transparent and objective ISDS process-of-dispute resolution. Investment rules, enforced through ISDS, must be a priority in new trade agreements.

Understand the Issue


For manufacturers and other businesses in the U.S., ISDS is an important last resort when a government blatantly discriminates, seizes private property without compensation, or treats investors unfairly. These rules promote the rule of law internationally and help manufacturers succeed in a tough global economy, helping to support jobs, research and development, and production here at home. NAM Vice President of International Economic Affaris Linda Dempsey in a Washington Examiner Op-Ed, "When all else fails, trade critics throw lots of mud"

Press Releases

  • 04/21/2015
    Manufacturers Call for Investment Protections in TPA
    In a letter coordinated by the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), more than 60 associations representing millions of manufacturers and businesses across the United States are calling on Congress to maintain strong investment and investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) provisions in upcoming Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) legislation.

In the News

  • 05/11/2015
    When All Else Fails, Trade Critics Throw Lots of Mud (Washington Examiner)
    "For manufacturers and other businesses in the U.S., ISDS is an important last resort when a government blatantly discriminates, seizes private property without compensation, or treats investors unfairly. These rules promote the rule of law internationally and help manufacturers succeed in a tough global economy, helping to support jobs, research and development, and production here at home."
  • 04/21/2015
    Trans-Pacific Partnership Trade Negotiations (C-SPAN)
    Watch NAM's Vice President of International Economic Affairs Linda Dempsey and C-SPAN's Pedro Echevarria talk about "fast-track" negotiating authority and the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
  • 04/20/2015
    Business groups back Obama on Trade (The Hill)
    "Business groups are defending the dispute settlement boards that would be included in trade agreements being negotiated by the Obama administration."