These treaties empower corporations, not people

The video tells how “free trade” agreements set up international tribunals to which corporations can appeal to override national laws, regulations and court decisions that protect workers, consumers and the environment.  It tells of how Chevron polluted a large area of Ecuador, how the local people after a long struggle won an award for damages or how Chevron overturned those damages.

Similar international tribunals would be set up under the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement and under a new agreement hulk-tppthe Obama administration is negotiating with the European Union.  Huffington Post reporters say the proposed US-EU agreement calls for mechanisms of “investor-state dispute resolution,” which would allow a company to appeal a regulation or law to an international tribunal.   The tribunal would be given authority to impose economic sanctions against the United States or any other country that refused to repeal the objectionable law or regulation.

Let’s assume for the sake of argument that this international tribunal would be impartial, and not stacked in favor of corporations.  It still would be a bad idea because it would be one-sided.   The proposed agreement creates now corporate rights, but it does nothing to protect the rights of workers, consumers and citizens.

International trade agreements are not inherently bad.  They could be used to raise rather than lower international standards.  I can imagine a treaty to sanction nations that export products that are hazardous to human health and safety, or that gain a competitive advantage by violating agreed-upon labor and environmental standards.  But under the proposed US-EU treaty and Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, the reverse would be true.  Sanctions would be applied against nations for protecting consumers, workers and the environment.

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Click on the following links for more from the Huffington Post.

TPP Trade Document Leaked, Revealing New Corporate Powers and Broken Campaign Promises

Obama’s EU Trade Deal Would Include More Powers for Corporations.

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