A new study says the expanded rights granted to foreign investors in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) delivers unjustified benefits to foreign investors while posing major risks for ordinary populations of TPP countries.
The study, titled, Foreign investor protections in the Trans-Pacific Partnership, was released by the progressive think-tank Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives last week.
“Overwhelmingly, the foreign investors that have benefited financially from the rights in agreements like the TPP have been very large companies and very wealthy individuals,” said Osgoode Hall Law School professor Gus van Harten, one the report’s authors. “Nothing like these rights exists for other actors in international law, whether they are other foreign nationals, domestic investors, or citizens – even in the most extreme situations of mistreatment.”
The study examined the special privileges foreign investors are guaranteed under the TPP. For example, the right to potentially millions of dollars in taxpayer-funded compensation “where government policy is found to interfere with an investor’s private interests.”
The study’s key concerns include the TPP’s expansion of the investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) rules covering “investment agreements” between governments and foreign investors.
“By this expansion of foreign investor rights, the TPP would tip the scales further in favour of multinationals, by giving them an advantage when they compete for government business,” said Van Harten, an international investment treaty expert.
According to the CCPA:
The TPP, along with the Canada-China investment treaty and the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement between Canada and the EU, would result in almost all Canadian foreign direct investment being covered by these “special rights,” which can be expected to generate many more cases against Canadian public policies, notably in the resource management and environmental protection areas.
For Van Harten, the TPP “was an opportunity for countries to step back from and reform the flawed system of foreign investor rights and investor-state dispute settlement but instead they have expanded the system. That is reason enough to reject the TPP in order to protect the established institutions of democracy, sovereignty, and the rule of law in TPP countries.”
After years of secret negotiations, Canada and 11 other countries signed the TPP deal in New Zealand on Feb. 4, 2016, creating the world’s largest economic trade agreement, encompassing more than 40 per cent of the world’s GDP. The 12 parties to the TPP are: Canada, the United States, Australia, Chile, Brunei, Japan, Peru, Mexico, Vietnam, Singapore, Malaysia, and New Zealand.
In a recent letter to the US Congress, Doctors Without Borders and more than fifty groups argued that the TPP would devastate public health systems around the world while extending pharmaceutical companies’ monopolies and profits.
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