Friday, April 24, 2015

When TTIP Is Signed Corporate Sovereignty Will Trump National Law

Source: Russia Today

Over the past couple of years Techdirt has written almost as much as my own Daily Stirrer news site about the pernicious TTIP trade treaty that will effectively end democracy in the developed world. What concerns all critics of TTIP (and there are many, in the USA and Europe, on both sides of the political fence and abounst businessmen and union leaders) are the corporate sovereignty chapters in trade agreements that grant foreign companies far-reaching powers to sue a government simply for issuing regulations that impact their investments. Recently, there has been a textbook example of how the investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) tribunals that adjudicate corporate sovereignty cases are literally a law unto themselves. A post on The Hill explains the background:
A company sought to develop a mining and marine terminal project in Canada, but it had to obtain approval from provincial and federal authorities. As part of that process, the company had to submit an environmental impact study (EIS) addressing the project’s potential impacts on the natural and human environment.
A panel of experts was appointed to review that study, and to issue a recommendation on whether the project should go ahead. The experts recommended against approval, partly on the basis that it would have been inconsistent with "core community values." As a result, the federal and provincial officials rejected the project. The company involved, Bilcon, appealed against that decision, but did so invoking NAFTA's corporate sovereignty provisions. The ISDS tribunal ruled that:
The advisory panel's consideration of "core community values" went beyond the panel’s duty to consider impacts on the "human environment" taking into account the local "economy, life style, social traditions, or quality of life." The arbitrators then proclaimed that the government's decision to reject Bilcon's proposed project based on the experts' recommendation was a violation of the NAFTA.
As The Hill article points out, that shouldn't have happened:
The parties to the NAFTA -- the United States, Canada and Mexico -- have all repeatedly clarified that ISDS is not meant to be a court of appeals sitting in judgment of domestic administrative or judicial decisions.
Nonetheless, the ISDS tribunal's lawyers ignored the clear intent of NAFTA's corporate sovereignty provisions, and issued their judgment dismissing local decisions following national laws. Because of the astonishing way that ISDS works, Canada can't even appeal. However, as the article in The Hill points out, the situation would have been even worsehad the ISDS tribunal argued correctly:
It shows that ISDS stymies crucial evolution in domestic law. Under the tribunal's reasoning, a breach of international law arises when government officials interpret vague concepts such as the "human environment" or "socio-economic" impacts using principles or terms not expressly found in earlier decisions. Yet, particularly in common-law jurisdictions such as the US's, law develops in large part through new interpretations, adapting to changing circumstances and times. If this evolving process were indeed a breach of international law, the US should expect to face significant liability to foreign companies, especially as ISDS is included in new treaties with capital-exporting countries.
In fact, there is a first hint that the US government is well aware of these huge problems with corporate sovereignty provisions, and that it is already preparing for the day when it loses a major ISDS case. That hasn't happened so far in part because relatively few foreign companies covered by existing trade agreements with corporate sovereignty provisions have major investments in the US that would allow them to make claims. However, that will change dramatically if an ISDS chapter is included in the TTIP/TAFTA deal currently being negotiated. According to Public Citizen's calculations(pdf):


Europe is waking up to the threat of globalism and the Transatlantic Partnership

Massive protests in Europe, an issue that unites the bitterly hostile right and left wing politiucal factions in the USA, the Trans Altantic Trade And Investment Partnership (TTIP) must be something quite special. The Daily Stirrer believes it is a corporate power grab, a bid to transfer the lawmaking systems of sovereign nations to bureucrats and corporate lawyers. Learn more below ...

TTIP and the destruction of democracy
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TTIP will make national sovereignty foklore says EU official

TTIP threatens UK National Health Service

Corporate monopoly men want everything

The Euronazi TTIP will kill democracy

America going for global hegemony ahead of US$ collapse

The Free Trade conspiracy that spells the end of freedom

Global government? The Conspiracy Is Winning

Transatlantic fascism coming to an EU member near you

Is the Europe Canada Trade Deal Dead?

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