As 11 nations signed a highly-contested Pacific Rim free trade agreement in Chile on Thursday, opponents from those countries voiced their dissent in protest while progressives allies in the United States—which isn't part of the pact—admitted that although they "dodged a bullet," global solidarity against such "corporate-dominated" deals remains as important as ever.
I’m really anxious to find out in what ways the deal has been renegotiated since the US left the table. To a large extent, US demands (and threats) were sticking points for other nations. Is this treaty more comprehensive and progressive as its new name suggests, and is it protective of workers and the environment?
It is, in essence, no different. The biggest give away to the international corporates has remained - the Investor State Dispute Settlement. It allows international corporates to sue the governments and have a tribunal decide the outcome - no transparency, no adherence to the legal rules and protocols of the country. The international corporates will eat up the taxpayers in minutes. As far as the environment - what international corporate have you heard about that actually gives one rats ass about that?
ISDS cannot overturn local laws (unlike the World Trade Organization) which violate trade agreements, but can grant monetary damages to investors adversely affected by such laws. According to the Office of the United States Trade Representative, ISDS requires specific treaty violations, and does not allow corporations to sue solely over “lost profits”.[
The overall number of known cases reached over 500 in 2012. Of these, 244 were concluded, of which approximately 42% were decided in favour of the Host State and approximately 31% in favour of the investor. Approximately 27% of the cases were settled out of court.