Today, negotiators from the United States, Mexico, and Canada completed the second round of NAFTA negotiations in Mexico City.
Despite calls from across the continent for a NAFTA that is better for the environment, workers, and public health, negotiators seem intent on keeping one of its worst provisions: investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS).
ISDS gives multinational corporations the power to sue governments in front of a panel of three arbiters, usually corporate lawyers. These lawyers can order governments to pay the corporations unlimited sums of money, including for the loss of expected future profits. Not only do corporations get a special system of “justice” outside our courts, but it’s rigged in their favor.
This means that if corporate executives decide US, Mexico, or Canada’s laws and policies that protect public health or the environment are violating their investor rights under NAFTA, they can sue the governments and potentially be awarded unlimited sums by corporate lawyers who usually oversee these secretive tribunals.
Taxpayers from the three NAFTA countries have already paid hundreds of millions of dollars to corporations following democratic regulations to limit toxic exposure, environmental and public health policies, and more.
When ISDS is included in a trade deal it means that deal serves corporate interests to the detriment of the public.
ISDS must be removed from any NAFTA renegotiation and should not be included in any future agreement.
Representatives should commit to oppose any NAFTA renegotiation — or any other agreement — that includes ISDS.
Originally posted September 6, 2017.