This page is linked to from the 'ACTION
by YOU' section of the web-page 'FTA_threats'
on the dangers of Free Trade Agreements, constructed by Dr Henry
can email your MP very easily and quickly with this help:
(i) If you are pushed for time:
(with just a minute to spare)
Just copy the text below the dotted line. Then click www.writetothem.com which will find your MP's email address for you, help you paste the text into a simple template email, and then send it for you. Job done!
CHEVRON, MONSANTO AND OTHER U.S. CORPORATIONS MUST NOT BE GIVEN
OVER-RIDING LEGAL POWER TO SUE THE UK OR EU USING ISDS
I am writing to urge you to take action to remove the Investor-State Dispute Settlement mechanism (ISDS) from both the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) – now under negotiation between the EU and USA, and the equivalent EU-Canada agreement (CETA) – now nearing completion and thus urgent.
The ISDS gives multinational corporations the power to sue nations if their future profits can be reduced by any changes in policy, regulations or legislation, including those designed to protect us and our environment. Also, it enables foreign multinationals to bypass our courts and laws in the process, by providing a behind-closed-doors tribunal system in the US comprising 3 unaccountable private arbitrators with a financially-incentivized pro-corporate bias, who can make decisions free from public scrutiny and appeal, and with a primacy of protecting profits and the “principle” of free market above protecting people and the environment or climate.
The ISDS is thus a significant threat to our vital long-term future needs, and also to our democracy and sovereignty, and consequently our ability to tackle the major issues facing us such as climate change.
Furthermore, there is ample evidence from existing free trade and investment treaties of corporate misuse of the ISDS to put profit before our vital needs. This excellent 5 minute video provides examples of such evidence and clearly explains how the ISDS works: https://vimeo.com/88146142 Examples are also listed below:
Using ISDS, a fracking company is suing Canada following Quebec's moratorium on fracking due to its pollution-risk, Canadian gold mining companies are suing El Salvador and Costa Rica for stopping them mining to protect rivers from pollution, a UK mining company Churchill is suing Indonesia for stopping it mining following damage to a rainforest conservation area home to orangutans, tobacco company Philip Morris is suing Uruguay and Australia for demanding health warnings on cigarette-packages, and Occidental Petroleum, despite numerous abuses of human rights, social and environmental laws in Ecuador, has successfully sued the country the equivalent of 15 years worth of social welfare payments for stopping its contract there for breach of its terms. These huge multi-million or even billion-dollar threats to taxpayers also act to "chill" or suppress similar regulations or democratic decisions from coming into being.
The European Commission claims to have recently reformed the ISDS clause to address the multitude of deep concerns. However "The Commission’s so-called reform agenda does nothing to address the basic flaws of the ISDS system ["and will not protect people, the environment and democracy"]. Foreign companies will continue to have greater rights than domestic firms and citizens. And international tribunals consisting of three for-profit lawyers will continue to decide over what policies are right or wrong, disregarding domestic laws, courts and democracy." (Marc Maes of the Belgian development organisation 11.11.11, with Pia Eberhardt of CEO's addition in ). Despite this, the UK government and Conservative and LibDem MPs and MEPs are continuing to pretend that the ISDS and TTIP are benign.
Please write or forward this to BIS Minister Vince Cable, who I understand is the Minister most likely to be representing the UK's position on this topic to the EU, especially when the TTIP and CETA texts are ready for approval (or not) by the EU Member States at the relevant Council of Ministers.I would be grateful if you could also consider signing Early Day Motion 793, which motions for the removal of the ISDS from the TTIP and adequate time for a full public debate and Parliamentary scrutiny.
The US is pushing for the TTIP to give US corporate interests the legal right to influence or vet any new future EU regulatory legislation or policy, especially at the early stage that the US wish. Chevron cannot be allowed to have this point of leverage to obstruct climate legislation.
The ISDS is the worst aspect of TTIP and CETA but not the only negative aspect. This is because the "Free Trade Agreement" model is designed primarily for the benefit of large multinational corporations and their financiers, shareholders and other beneficiaries. The Alternative Trade Mandate is a much better model for trade as it is designed for the long-term benefit for all of us. www.alternativetrademandate.org