Professors Write to Congress Opposing TPP

WASHINGTON—About 100 law professors from American universities across the country protested the Trans-Pacific Partnership to congressional leaders via letter in mid-March because it contains an “unaccountable, unreiewable” legal system serving corporations.

 

According to the law professors, firms will use that system to break down federal, state, and local laws.  TPP also allows businesses to fight existing laws that guard safety and health.

 

The letter sent by the professors aids workers, unions, and their supporters in their campaign against the Obama administration’s plan to “fast-track” TPP through Congress without protections for workers and the environment.

 

Erwin Chemerinsky, dean of the University of California-Irvine law school says in the letter, “foreign corporations (get) a special legal privilege, the right to initiate dispute settlement proceedings against a government for actions that allegedly cause a loss of profit for the corporation,” because TPP would create the Investor-State Dispute System, a foreign trade court system.

 

The ISDS is included in another proposed trade agreement with Europe. The letter indicates that the court system has no process for appeals.

 

Amalgamated Transit Union President Larry Hanley explained at the February AFL-CIO Executive Council meeting in Altanta that under ISDS, firms could attack a proposed ordinance in Atlanta and raise the minumum wage to $15 and hour.

 

The letter explains, “Essentially, corporations use ISDS to challenge government policies, actions, or decisions that they allege reduce the value of their investments.  These challenges are not heard in a normal court but instead before a tribunal of private lawyers.  This threatens domestic sovereignty and weakens the rule of law by giving corporations special legal rights, allowing them to ignore domestic courts, and subjecting the United States to extrajudicial private arbitration.”

 

The lawyers added that firms can sue governments, but governments can’t sue firms.

 

Source: PAI