Investor rights were also the subject of major litigation during the negotiations. The issue was the use of investors if the government were to take possession of its assets or influence its activities in a manner contrary to the agreement. The free trade agreement includes an investor-state mechanism under which investors who are harmed by government measures that violate the obligations of the ESTV have the right to settle the dispute directly before an international arbitration tribunal. The aim is to provide for an impartial and transparent dispute resolution procedure. Submissions from dispute resolution bodies and hearings should be open to the public and interested parties should have the opportunity to give their views. Singaporean investors who enter into investment agreements with the federal government after the free trade agreement comes into force should be able to resolve existing disputes directly before an international arbitration tribunal. Singapore has agreed to allow the importation of therapeutic-valuable chewing gum from the United States for sale and supply, subject to health product laws and regulations (Article 2.11). This paves the way for the importation of therapeutic types of American chewing gum, perhaps such as teeth whitening and nicotine nuclei, which are intended to help smoking cessation, to be sold there – probably through pharmacies. Some information reports had indicated that prescriptions would be required to buy the gums, but this provision does not appear in the text of the agreement, and the Singapore government would have agreed that there would be no need for a prescription. Gum has been banned in Singapore since 1992 to protect the clean city and subways.
(20) U.S. interests have also expressed support for the liberalization of the sale of sugar-free chewing gum. Trade Act 2002 (P.L. 107-210). The Act contains negotiating objectives that call on negotiators to ensure that the parties do not effectively implement their environmental legislation in a way that affects trade and that such breaches are subject to dispute resolution. Another objective is trade agreements that require the parties not to weaken environmental legislation in order to attract trade. With regard to the benefits of free trade agreements, proponents of trade and investment liberalization, including free trade agreements, argue that they generally lead to more export opportunities, greater business flexibility and a more efficient economy. They also point out that foreign countries generally face greater barriers to trade and investment than in the United States. Trade agreements therefore generally require greater reduction of barriers abroad than by the United States. They also argue that the United States is at risk of being abandoned, as other nations enter into free trade agreements that do not include the United States. The agreement focuses on promoting compliance through trade-friendly consultations and remedial measures, not on trade sanctions or other sanctions for non-compliance.
The agreement provides for an enforcement mechanism that includes monetary sanctions to enforce trade, labour and environmental obligations in the trade agreement.