The ISDS is a threat to our very act of resistance...
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Art by Oliver Munday

Dear Corporate Greed Resisters,

Brought to the world stage by NAFTA, the Investment-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) is amongst the biggest threats to democracy that the Trump administration and corporations throughout the globe want consolidated in the new world order.
 
Last week, the Trump administration prepared a 21-point list entitled “Key Elements of a Model Trade Agreement” at the request of Senator Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) ahead of Robert Lighthizer’s congressional hearing on his nomination to be the next United States Trade Representatives.
 
While many items on the list are a cause for alarm, we want to remind everyone of the persistence of ISDS across presidencies.
 
We have heard Trump repeatedly rant about how horrible NAFTA and the TPP were, yet he has kept silent on the devastating effect of one of ISDS as a main component of these deals.
 
In a fantastic Buzzfeed investigative report, Chris Hamby showed how U.S. corporations have benefitted immensely from the alternative court system which has power over national governments. According to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, the most ISDS suits originated from the United States with a soaring 138 suits. ISDS is a threat for any country that wants to increase labor and environmental protections domestically and a global threat to climate change action and peoples’ sovereignty.
 
For example, Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch just published a blog post on how pharmaceutical giant Novartis has used ISDS as a threat to drag the Colombian government into a corporate tribunal if it tries to make an essential cancer drug accessible. Colombia’s legislation could make end Novartis’s current monopoly rights to produce the drug and authorize generic competition, which could decrease the $15,000 per year per patient price tag by some 44%.
 
We expect the Trump administration to continue strengthening the power of the corporate court system with the renegotiations of NAFTA and other trade agreements. Additionally, the European Union is pushing for a multi-lateral ISDS system through its negotiations with Chile and México along with another 40 countries during the World Economic Forum.
 
If we are to have the power to rule ourselves in the future, to pull the brakes on global warming and the devastating effects of climate change, then we must defeat ISDS in any context.
 
The greed of a few cannot take on the lives of the many.

A visual description of ISDS
 


Unite for Global Justice,
Trade for People and Planet Team

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