Say NO to ISDS – Vote NO on TPP

By Crista Huff, Special for  USDR

Here’s the text of my letter to The Colorado Statesman, in response to an article about the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement, dated April 26,  2015:

Thank you for reporting on the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement in your recent article, Trans-Pacific trade agreement supporters, opponents spar.

I would like to make an important clarification to that article, which references the ability for foreign countries – through state-owned enterprises — and foreign companies “to sue the U.S. government”. That lawsuit provision, referred to as the Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS), already exists in previous trade deals, such as  NAFTA.

What’s new in the TPP is the provision for those foreign entities to directly sue U.S. states and municipalities (counties, towns, ports, etc.) in global courts, entirely bypassing U.S. court systems, and trashing the concept of U.S.  sovereignty.

We already know, from witnessing ISDS lawsuits under NAFTA, that many ofthese lawsuits are frivolous, many of their outcomes are clearly unjust, and the mere cost of combatting such a lawsuit in global court could cost a town millions of dollar – dollars which they can ill-afford to  spend.

Our states and municipalities do not have the manpower, let alone the expertise, to argue cases in global courts. And the court system itself is somewhat of a farce. These secret global tribunals are made up of three attorneys who take turns acting as judge and prosecutor. When acting as judge on a current trial, they can make a ruling which becomes a new part of the TPP, thereby favorably affecting the outcome of the next case which they’ll be prosecuting, a few months  hence.

Yes, these rulings change and add to the Trans Pacific Partnership. And the defendants have no opportunity to appeal the  rulings.

There are currently $6 billion of NAFTA ISDS lawsuits against Canada, 63% of which target existing environmental protections and resource management programs. Germany is also suffering under similar litigation, and, along with France, is now trying to renegotiate a recent trade deal between the European Union and Canada, in order to change its harmful ISDS  provisions.

ISDS has the potential to turn Colorado cities and towns into Detroit-like wastelands after just one loss in global court. What happens when a $300 million judgment is levied against Denver County? If the money is not in the county’s bank account, what does the global court take? Our museums? Our parks? Our  land?

There are many solid reasons to oppose the Trans Pacific Partnership trade agreement. But you don’t really need ten reasons. You only need one: the Investor-State Dispute Settlement has proven to be destructive, expensive, and cedes U.S. authority to global courts. It is completely unacceptable, and needs to be removed from all future trade  agreements.


Crista  Huff

Crista Huff is a Republican and Tea Party activist in Douglas County, Colorado. She owns and operates a stock market website, Goodfellow LLC, and regularly travels to Washington D.C. with End Global Governance, to oppose Fast Track and the Trans Pacific Partnership.

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