To the Editor:
William M. Daley argues that critics of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal are motivated by unfounded fear and seek instead a “protectionist” approach to global trade.
Advocates of the TPP prefer to make their case with general rhetoric about job growth and economic expansion, but the devil is in the specifics.
One of the most indefensible provisions in the trade deal would give foreign corporations the right to sue the United States and other countries for large sums in secretive international trade tribunals any time the wheels of policy making turn in ways they do not like.
These Investor-State Dispute Settlement accords are already included in many bilateral trade agreements, and we know what they bring—a Philip Morris suit against Uruguay for $25 million for the sin of tougher cigarette warnings, a Canadian-Australian company suit against El Salvador for $300 million because the country blocked mining operations that residents say are toxic, and so on.
The question that Mr. Daley and the president need to answer but don’t is why it is in a country’s best interests to hand foreign corporations this kind of new power to punish it for political action taken to protect public health and safety. Protecting these things from legal assault from abroad is not about fear; it is about common sense.
The Democracy Center