Easing the Burden of Law for Corporations — The goal of the TPP, TISA, and TTIP-CETA is to create the same regulations for the majority of the globe. The driver is not equality or the environment, but streamlining regulations in countries to make it easier for investors. The deals are negotiated without public input; even parliamentarians are denied access to the text. Maude Barlow, fair trade expert, warns of a diminishing authority of government to regulate for the public good through “a process of harmonizing standards and regulations among all the jurisdictions on goods as diverse as pipelines, chemicals and food Convergence Standards.” It’s as if the law has become a burden for corporations.
Only Business Enforces the Rules — The only group who can initiate the enforcement of the TPP, TISA or TTIP-CETA is big investors. ISDS, the dispute framework for the new trade, is designed to jury their complaints. No other part of the text, not labour, the environment, or health & safety, are enforceable. Even though these deals change the rules for our municipal councils, there is no protection mechanism for sub-national government. There is no process in the TPP, TISA or TTIP-CETA for government or people to make a complaint. Barlow’s recent assessment of ISDS trade, “Fighting TTIP, CETA and ISDS: Lessons from Canada” shares the views of UN rapporteurs on ISDS trade. In their June report, they conclude that these deals protect corporations and not populations. The UN warns that the right to regulate is at risk for government under these regimes.
With the environmental and social challenges we face, giving transnational corporations a formal legal system to wield for their profits is conscientious stupidity.
Europe Tries To Rebrand ISDS – It is no surprise that every day people do not want ISDS. When surveyed, 97 percent of Europeans said no. In response, the EU trade commission has begun to make some changes. They want actual judges, not private arbitrators, to preside over the claims in a public court they are calling the Investment Court System (ICS). While making trade more transparent is essential, this court system would still only enforce corporate complaints. This modified ISDS means that members of the public could watch corporations sue us as opposed to it being done in secret as it is now. This is not a fundamental shift. The corporate rights confederacy is still in place.
An Act of Violence on the People — John Hilary, director of the UK’s War on Want, calls the shift from ISDS to ICS “an act of violence against the (European) people” (Video 54:40) The new Investment Court System plan for TTIP, and possibly CETA, will legitimize corporate lawsuits against the state. Corporate control is okay for selling sneakers and soda crackers, but when it holds the authority over biological fundamentals like seeds, medicine, water, it’s anti-democratic. Legitimizing a law system for corporations puts us at a dangerous crossroads. With the environmental and social challenges we face, giving transnational corporations a formal legal system to wield for their profits is conscientious stupidity. A court system biased to big profit is an assault on future generations.