Under the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) “free trade” agreement, foreign firms would gain an array of privileges:
- Rights to acquire land, natural resources, factories without government review
- Risks and costs of offshoring to low wage countries eliminated
- Special guaranteed “minimum standard of treatment” for relocating firms
- Compensation for loss of “expected future profits” from health, labor environmental, laws (indirect or “regulatory” takings compensation)
- Right to move capital without limits
- New rights cover vast definition of investment: intellectual property, permits, derivatives
- Ban performance requirements, domestic content rules. Absolute ban, not only when applied to investors from signatory countries
A major goal of U.S. multinational corporations for the TPP is to impose on more countries a set of extreme for-eign investor privileges and rights and their private enforcement through the notorious “investor-state” system. This system elevates individual corporations and investors to equal standing with each TPP signatory country’s government- and above all of us citizens.
Under this regime, foreign investors can skirt domestic courts and laws, and sue governments directly before tribunals of three private sector lawyers operating under World Bank and UN rules to demand taxpayer compensation for any domestic law that investors believe will diminish their “expected future profits.” Over $675 million has been paid to foreign investors under U.S. trade pacts, while over $12 billion in claims are pending on environmental, safety, and public health policies under U.S. trade deals.