UK says any system for resolving U.S. investor disputes will be fair

LONDON (Reuters) - The British government said any system to protect U.S. companies’ interests in the country after a free trade agreement - typically a sensitive issue for civil society groups worried about the power of multinationals - would have to be fair and transparent.

“The government also notes the range of perspectives regarding the potential inclusion of investment protection and an associated Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) mechanism,” the government said in a document outlining its approach to the talks with Washington.

ISDS became the focus of criticism of a proposed trade deal between the European Union and the United States, drawing thousands of protesters to the streets in Europe and forcing the EU to propose changing the way investor-state disputes are settled. Critics said tribunals with private arbitrators would give multinationals the power to dictate public policy.

Writing by William Schomberg and Philip Blenkinsop in Brussels. Editing by Andrew MacAskill