The Keystone Pipeline company TransCanada has just filed a NAFTA lawsuit to challenge its rejection. It is seeking damages in the billions.
In December, the House voted to repeal the COOL (Country of Origin labeling for meat products). That's because the World Trade Organization authorized Canada and Mexico to impose one billion in retaliatory tariffs on the U.S. because of our country of origin labeling on meat. Such labeling was found to be a trade violation, impinging on the rights of NAFTA countries.
So, in other words, a foreign corporate tribunal determines what protections (or lack thereof) U.S. citizens will have - not states, and not Congress. National sovereignty is superceded.
Many have called the Trans-Pacific Partnership NAFTA on steroids. I believe it far excceds NAFTA on every level, and in ways that we can't yet know. The TPP is being aggressively promoted by huge, multi-national corporations , and their lobbyists who wrote the TPP.
Here's why, as explained by Public Citizen:
"..A major goal of U.S. multinational corporations for the TPP is to impose on more countries a set of extreme foreign investor privileges and rights and their private enforcement through the notorious “investor-state” system. This system allows foreign corporations to challenge before international tribunals national environmental, land use, health and other laws and regulations that apply to domestic and foreign firms alike. Outrageously, this regime elevates individual corporations and investors to equal standing with each TPP signatory country’s government – and above all of us citizens.
This regime empowers corporations to skirt national courts and sue our governments before tribunals of private sector lawyers operating under UN and World Bank rules to demand taxpayer compensation for domestic regulatory policies that investors believe diminish their “expected future profits.” Many of these regulatory policies are designed for environmental protection. For example, in 2012, the U.S. Lone Pine company launched a $250 million NAFTA investor-state case against a Canadian ban on fracking.
If a corporation “wins,” the taxpayers of the “losing” country must foot the bill. Over $400 million in compensation has already been paid out to corporations in a series of investor-state cases under NAFTA-style deals alone. This includes attacks on natural resource policies, toxics bans, zoning and permits, health and safety measures, and more. In fact, of the nearly $14 billion in the 15 claims now pending under NAFTA-style deals, all relate to environmental, financial, public health and transportation policy – not traditional trade issues. Governments have paid out over $3 billion to investors in investor-state disputes under U.S. FTAs and bilateral investment treaties (BITs) – over 85 percent of this related to oil, mining, gas, and other environmental and natural resource disputes..."
The so-called "economic recovery" has essentially been a jobless one; the jobs that have been "created" are lower in wages, and include part-time jobs and temporary positions. Pensions have gone the way of the Dodo bird. But with the TPP, the job losses would exceed the job losses from NAFTA. And Congress will be cutting 700 million out of Medicare to pay for job "re-training." Retraining? To work where? As what, burger flippers at McDonalds? Somehow I don't see Corporate America suddenly going on a domestic hiring binge! Especially when they can outsource their work to the third world, and not have to deal with those pesky safety and environmental standards.
With TPP, the jobs that actually remain here will tend toward the lower-paying and unstable.
All of us must contact our congressional critters - such as they may be - and make clear our opposition to this corporate coup d'etat. If you have time for only one issue to deal with right now, make that issue the TPP. Unless everyone rises up, this thing will be a done deal and we will be screwed.