I HAVE HEARD TIME AND AGAIN FROM MY ELECTED INCUMBENTS.....'I DON'T WORK FOR YOU, I WORK FOR CORPORATIONS'. AND THEY DO FOLKS! YOU AND I DO NOT HEAR OF THE MOST IMPORTANT LAWS BEING WRITTEN THAT ARE UNDERMINING OUR SOCIETY!!!
THINK ALEC WRITING EDUCATION REFORM OR GUN LAWS IS BAD......ALL OF THAT IS CHILD'S PLAY.
In this midst of receiving emails from political action organizations that solicit our email addresses for signing issue petitions we are being told that our democratic incumbents are fighting for our entitlements. I was told that Cardin and Mikulski are standing firm against cuts. We all know that all of the policy which they have been a part has done nothing but weaken our social safety nets so this is propaganda. IF THOSE POLITICAL ACTION GROUPS ARE TELLING YOU YOUR INCUMBENT IS WORKING FOR YOU......THEY ARE THIRD WAY CORPORATE POLITICAL GROUPS WORKING FOR CORPORATE INTEREST. Signing petitions is a good thing......do not take these organizations as supporting the people just because they advance these petitions!
Below you'll see what is the most nefarious and deeply destructive legislation ever pulled together in America's history. It basically subjugates the US government to multinational corporations and places US citizens in the position of having a government that cannot and will not work in the interest of its citizens.......THIS IS WHAT IS MEANT WHEN THE ELITE SCHOOLS SAY THAT POLITICS IN AMERICA IS DEAD. You will see that these international laws surrounding trade between countries state that a nation's government will be sued if a law is changed that hurts the business interests of these multinational corporations. So, if we wanted to protect the US environment with a law and that law places burden on the profitability of a multinational corporation, that corporation will sue the US government and take it to court for breech of contract. Taxpayers would be paying for the US government's fight to be able to pass a law.
THIS LEGISLATION IS DELIBERATELY WRITTEN IN A WAY THAT WILL MAKE IT IMPOSSIBLE TO UNDO BECAUSE THEY ARE GETTING MANY NATIONS TO SIGN ON TO THIS AND IT IS BEING WORKED INTO ALL OF INTERNATIONAL TREATIES.
I was at a progressive meeting last year in Washington DC where one of the attendees stood up and said she received a leaked piece of what was being discussed and that it wasn't good. The important point is that these negotiations are so closed that even the most ardent political hacktivists are not finding out what is being discussed. This is because.......NONE OF US WILL LIKE IT. IF YOU THINK YOU ARE CLOSED OUT OF YOUR CITY DEVELOPMENT MEETINGS OR IF OPEN MEETINGS ARE A SHAM AT THE MARYLAND STATE LEVEL.......YOU SHOULD SEE WHAT YOUR NATIONAL INCUMBENTS ARE DOING TO YOU AND ME.
This is what Ben Cardin and Barbara Mikulski are doing for you and me.....this is what Sarbanes, Hoyer, and Cummings are doing for you and me.......THIS IS WHAT YOUR THIRD WAY CORPORATE DEMOCRATIC INCUMBENT......THE BILL AND HILLARY CLINTON CAUCUS ARE DOING TO YOU AND ME!!!!!
VOTE YOUR INCUMBENT OUT OF OFFICE!!!!!!
This is why the last election of incumbent senators and reps were so important to Third Way.....to the extent that a media blackout in the Baltimore area during elections to make sure Ben Cardin.....the most threatened, was reelected. These incumbents who have been in office these few decades since the Clinton Administration have been working towards this goal. It is also why we are seeing these Non-governmental organizations NGOs......the private non-profit industrial complex becoming public......this is what they think will be the corporate center that replaces domestic politics.
HERE IN MARYLAND ........ JOHNS HOPKINS LEADS THIS EFFORT. IT CAN BE SEEN IN THE GIFTING PROGRAMS LIKE ABAG (ASSOCIATION OF BALTIMORE AREA GRANTMAKERS) AND MARYLAND NON-PROFITS
These people have decided to push policy that will end not only democracy in America.....but completely eliminate our governmental structures. Remember, we barely have Rule of Law anymore so the entire Justice Department focuses almost exclusively on corporate law. We barely have a judicial system as 90% of court cases are plea bargains and arbitration. Judges and lawyers are disappearing. YOUR INCUMBENT IS DOING THIS!!!!
AS YOUR INCUMBENT SHOUTS THAT THEY ARE PROTECTING YOUR ENTITLEMENTS THEY ARE LEGISLATING SO THAT YOU AND I WILL NOT BE ABLE TO AFFORD EVEN BASIC HEALTH CARE. PLEASE TAKE TIME TO READ THIS ARTICLE BELOW AND GO TO THE ATTACHED SITES TO SEE THAT THIS IS WHAT YOUR INCUMBENT HAS BEEN WORKING THESE FOUR YEARS AS THE ECONOMY STAGNATES.
Leaked Trans-Pacific Free Trade Agreement Texts Reveal U.S. Pushing Extreme Pharmaceutical Corporation Demands that Would Undermine Consumers’ Access to Affordable Medicine Obama Administration Positions Roll Back Initial 2007 Reforms Made by Bush Administration on Medicines Patents, Abandon Access to Medicines Commitments
Leaks of U.S. proposals for the Trans-Pacific Free Trade Agreement (FTA) reveal that the Obama administration has reversed reforms designed to enhance access to affordable medicines made during the George W. Bush administration and is instead demanding new rights for pharmaceutical firms to challenge pricing and other drug formulary policies used by many developed countries to keep down prices. The leaked draft text raises multiple concerns, including the following:
EMPOWERING BIG PHARMA TO ATTACK COST-SAVING DRUG FORMULARIES
This is a new proposal to empower pharmaceutical firms to attack the medicine formulary systems that New Zealand, Australia and other developed countries have used so successfully to reduce sky-high drug prices. Governments use formularies to control health costs by listing medicines approved for government purchase or reimbursement and negotiating with drug firms to obtain the lowest prices. Using the Trans-Pacific FTA to undermine Australia’s Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) and New Zealand’s Pharmaceutical Management Agency (PHARMAC) is a goal U.S. pharmaceutical firms. U.S. states and some U.S. national programs also use formulary systems.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) The Trans-Pacific Partnership Free Trade Agreement: NAFTA for the Pacific Rim? Read CTC’s Most Current Fact Sheets
The Trans-Pacific Partnership
What Corporations Want in Trans-Pacific Trade Negotiations
The TPP’s Threats to Public Health
The TPP and the Environment
- Citizens Trade Campaign P.O. Box 77077
Washington DC 20013
Email : info(at)citizenstrade.org
The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a massive new international trade pact being pushed by the U.S. government at the behest of transnational corporations. The TPP is already being negotiated between the United States, Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam — but it is also specifically intended as a “docking agreement” that other Pacific Rim countries would join over time, with Japan, Korea, China and others already expressing some interest. It is poised to become the largest Free Trade Agreement in the world.
The Obama administration’s recent embrace of the Bush-negotiated Korea, Panama and Colombia Free Trade Agreements leaves many worried that the Trans-Pacific Partnship will become nothing but a massive new NAFTA-style agreement. Indeed, while not all the negotiating text for the FTA has yet been released, it is already clear that trade negotiators are using past free trade agreements as their basic starting point for this one. The leaked of several chapters, in fact, show rollbacks from the Bush years on topics like access to medicine and zero progress on investment.
The ongoing, multi-year negotiations over the TPP are supposed to conclude in 2012, and as such, the window of opportunity for preventing the FTA from becoming a new “NAFTA for the Pacific Rim” is rapidly closing. Here are some of the questions yet to be answered:
- Labor rights: Will the Trans-Pacific FTA include labor standards based on International Labor Organization conventions, and if included, how will they be enforced?
- Investment Provisions: Will the Trans-Pacific FTA include so-called “investor-state” provisions that allow individual corporations to challenge environmental, consumer and other public interest policies as barriers to trade?
- Public Procurement: Will the Trans-Pacific FTA respect nations’ and communities’ right to set purchasing preferences that keep taxpayer dollars re-circulating in local economies?
- Access to Medicines: Will the Trans-Pacific FTA allow governments to produce and/or obtain affordable, generic medications for sick people?
- Agriculture: Will the Trans-Pacific FTA allow countries to ensure that farmers and farm workers are fairly compensated, while also preventing the agricultural dumping that has forced so many family farmers off their land?
International trade policies can be designed to lift labor, environmental and human rights standards and living conditions at home and abroad — but only if we demand it.
Trans-Pacific Trade Negotiations: We Need a Fair Deal or No Deal
Urge negotiators to release the texts of the Trans-Pacific FTA negotiations using this online petition or by helping to circulate this petition on paper
See photos from actions outside the Dallas round in May 2012
See photos from actions outside the Chicago round in September 2011
See photos from actions outside the southern California mini-round in January 2012
See photos from actions outside the San Francisco round in June 2010
See the leaked investment text and analysis from June 2012
See the leaked IP, drug formularies and regulatory coherence texts and analysis from October 2011
See the October 2011 civil society letter urging transparency in the negotiations
See our September 2011 Background Memo on the Trans-Pacific FTA
See our 2010 CTC Letter to President Obama on the Trans-Pacific FTA
In 2009, 350+ groups sent a letter to USTR on the Trans-Pacific FTA
Make or Break: Obama Officials Start TPP Talks Today Global Trade Watch, March 15, 2010
Trans-Pacific Partnership Opportunity to Fix Broken System Teamsters, January 26th, 2010
See the USTR TPP Statements and Actions to Date
News & Opinion
Host U.S. under pressure in Asia-Pacific Trade Talks Reuters, June 13, 2010
US environment groups urge inclusion of Lacey Act language in TPP Inside US Trade, June 4, 2010
US Tries to Build Consensus for Trans-Pacific Trade Talks Wall Street Journal, June 3, 2010
Aiming for a trade agreement that breaks with the past Human Rights for Workers, May 13, 2010
Global Union Leaders: Open Trans-Pacific Trade Talks AFL-CIO NOW Blog, May 12, 2010
Must be told Wellsboro Gazette, May 12, 2010
Trading away financial stability Guardian, May 4, 2010
Malaysia could join Asia-Pacific trade talks – US Reuters, May 6, 2010
Kagen says trade deal could make or break U.S. dairy industry Wisconsin Ag Connection, April 29, 2010
TPP as backdoor to Colombia FTA? Eyes on Trade, March 23, 2010
Trade unions in TPP countries call for a fairer trade framework friendly to working people CTU Media Release, March 15, 2010
Proposed Pacific trade agreement must deliver for workers, jobs and the environment, say unions Australian Council of Trade Unions, March 15, 2010
Don’t trade away health, labour, cultural and environmental policies AFTINET, March 14, 2010
Thirty US Senators warn US Trade Representative Ron Kirk about Dairy Provisions in TPP March 11, 2010
House Trade Working Group Requests Meeting with USTR on Trans-Pacific Partnership FTA Office of Congressman Mike Michaud, January 21, 2010
Levin Argues Against Fast-Track Trade Authority CQ Politics, December 15, 2009
Trans-Pacific Partnership Announcement Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, December 14, 2009
Obama Tells Congress U.S. Will Pursue Asia Trade Bloomberg, December 14, 2009
Kirk says U.S. will work with Congress on Pacific trade pact Bloomberg, November 14, 2009
For trade, Obama doesn’t look South Miami Herald, October 19, 2009
U.S. Wants Japan, Malaysia, South Korea to Join Talks Bloomberg, December 18, 2009
Obama boosts hopes for free trade in Asia-Pacific Associated Press, November 17, 2009
In March of 2009, our national, state and local affiliates, representing well over sixteen million combined members, and 350 individual organizations in the trade reform movement, agreed that many of the most serious problems of the previous trade agreement model were replicated in past FTAs, and that the initial reforms made to labor and environmental standards and medicines patent rules required further improvements.
For a prospective TPP to be successful, it cannot merely mirror past U.S. agreements, including those negotiated with Peru, Colombia, Panama and Korea. The FTAs negotiated under the previous Administration do not represent an acceptable trade agreement model. Indeed, a majority of House Democrats voted against the Peru FTA. However, specific improvements made to some of those pacts’ terms in 2007 with respect to labor and environmental standards and patent rules related to medicines are a starting point from which a prospective TPP agreement must achieve more progress.
If the TPP if it is to represent a more balanced way to expand trade, and garner broad support from the public, labor and civil society organizations and thus Congress, it must address the core issues below which are also central to the TRADE Act.
- Labor and Environmental Standards. The Peru FTA and the three leftover Bush FTAs require countries only to implement the vague terms set forth in the ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work, and they explicitly do not refer to the ILO Conventions, with their associated jurisprudence and protections. The labor standards of a prospective TPP agreement must require signatories to enforce the core International Labor Organisation’s (ILO) standards as set forth in the ILO Conventions. Requiring in the TPP that countries implement in their domestic law the ILO Convention standards will be a historic accomplishment for international worker rights. Indeed, all future U.S. trade agreements must include a requirement that countries implement in their domestic law the ILO Convention standards.
- Enforcement. They must also include provisions stating that the failure to enforce or the weakening of such policies would constitute a violation of a trade pact provision, for which the consequences will be just as stringent as commercial violations. The record of implementation of the Peru FTA demonstrates why better enforcement of trade pact labor and environmental terms must be a goal of a prospective TPP. Despite inclusion of the 2007-revised labor and environmental language, the Peru FTA was implemented in 2009 without Peru fully implementing its labor commitments as required and after its government rolled back existing environmental protections. Given the disconcerting labor rights records of Vietnam and Brunei, the issue of enforcement will be a critical one in the TPP negotiations.
- Foreign-Investor Rights and Private Extra-judicial Investor-State Enforcement. The TPP must not include the same foreign investor terms included in NAFTA, CAFTA and the Bush FTAs that led many Democrats to oppose these pacts. These past rules afford foreign investors operating here with greater rights than those enjoyed by U.S. investors. The past FTA investment provisions also allow foreign investors and corporations to directly enforce their special FTA investor rights and privileges by suing governments in foreign tribunals to demand cash compensation. President Obama cited these investment rules as problematic during the campaign. The past FTAs’ investor rights terms create incentives for U.S. firms to offshore their U.S. production to foreign jurisdictions where they can operate under privileged FTA foreign investor status rather than be forced to deal with that country’s regulatory policy and courts. They also subject our domestic environmental, zoning, health and other public interest policies to challenge by foreign investors in foreign tribunals.
- Food and Product Safety. NAFTA, CAFTA and past FTAs contain language requiring the United States to accept imported food that does not meet our domestic safety standards and limiting import inspection of food and products. In all future U.S. trade pacts, the right to send food and products into the United States must be conditioned on meeting U.S. safety and inspection standards.
- Procurement Provisions. Past FTA procurement rules subject many common federal and state procurement policies to challenge and directly forbid other common procurement policies. These procurement rules continue the NAFTA/CAFTA ban on anti-offshoring and many Buy America policies, and expose U.S. renewable-energy, recycled-content and other environmental safety requirements to challenge. These terms must be changed in the TPP to provide the policy space for exciting “Green Economy” proposals needed to get our economy back on track.
- Service-sector deregulation. Future U.S. trade pacts must not limit domestic policy regarding the regulation of health, energy, and other essential services. As well, the financial crisis has shown the perils of locking in deregulation of banking, insurance, and other financial services, as has occurred in past pacts.
- Agriculture Provisions. Past FTAs contain the NAFTA-style agriculture trade rules that have simultaneously undermined U.S. producers’ ability to earn a fair price for their crops at home and in the global marketplace. Multinational grain-trading and food-processing firms have made enormous profits, while farmers on both ends have been hurt. If this model is continued, hunger is projected to increase, along with illicit drug cultivation, and undocumented migration. Failure to establish new agriculture terms would intensify the race to the bottom in commodity prices, pitting farmer against farmer and nation against nation to see who can produce food the cheapest, regardless of labor, environment or food-safety standards.
- Access to Medicines. While the most egregious, CAFTA-based terms limiting access to affordable medicines were removed from the last four Bush FTAs, the texts still include NAFTA-style terms that undermine the right to affordable medicines that were contained in the WTO’s Doha Declaration. The TPP negotiations must build on the 2007 reforms on medicine patents rules.
We look forward to working with President Obama to create a new American trade and globalization policy, starting with the process of reviewing our old trade agreement model and formulating a new approach which can be debuted in the context of the TPP process. It will be challenging to remedy the considerable damage that our past trade policies have wrought, however we are confident that working together, we can replace the failed trade policies of the past with those that deliver broadly shared benefits and thus earn broad support.
Comments on the TPP
Executive Committee of Citizens Trade Campaign
Comments Concerning an Environmental Review of the Proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership Trade Agreement Defenders of Wildlife, Earthjustice, Environmental Investigation Agency, Friends of the Earth US, Sierra Club, June 2, 2010
National Farmers Union
President Hoffa, Int. Brotherhood of Teamsters
Teamsters Will Support Trade Pact That Protects Workers
Public Citizen’s Detailed Comments
Global Trade Watch on the TPP Trade Agreement
350+ groups to USTR on how to structure a new TPP March 18th, 2009
Comment from David Frengel, Penn United
Comment from Steve Neubeck, Jobs With Justice
Comment from Humane Society International
Comment from International Fund for Animal Welfare
Comment from US Wheat Associates
Previous Comments from Public Citizen on the TPP March 9, 2009
See all comments to the USTR
THINK YOUR TAX DOLLARS ARE BEING SUCKED AWAY BY DEFENSE INDUSTRY FRAUD, HEALTH CARE, FOR-PROFIT EDUCATION, AND FINANCIAL INDUSTRY FRAUD? MOVE OVER, NOW IT IS THE LAWYERS TURN (AS THOUGH THEIR ROLE IN THE SUBPRIME MORTGAGE GIG WASN'T ENOUGH) AS GOVERNMENTS AGREE TO KEEP POLICIES IN PLACE THAT ARE BUSINESS-FRIENDLY REGARDLESS OF THE EFFECTS ON THE PUBLIC........ALL AT TAXPAYER EXPENSE.
VOTE YOUR INCUMBENT OUT OF OFFICE!!!!!
Profiting from injustice How law firms, arbitrators and financiers are fuelling an investment arbitration boom
27 November 2012 Cecilia Olivet Pia Eberhardt
A small club of international law firms, arbitrators and financial speculators are fuelling an investment arbitration boom that is costing taxpayers billions of dollars and preventing legislation in the public interest.
Download the report Profiting from Injustice (pdf, 1.1MB)
Download Executive summary in English, German, Dutch, French, Spanish
The last two decades have witnessed the silent rise of a powerful international investment regime that has ensnared hundreds of countries and put corporate profit before human rights and the environment.
International investment treaties are agreements made between states that determine the rights of investors in each other’s territories. They are used by powerful companies to sue governments if policy changes – even ones to protect public health or the environment – are deemed to affect their profits. By the end of 2011, over 3,000 international investment treaties had been signed, leading to a surge in legal claims at international arbitration tribunals. The costs of these legal actions weigh on governments in the form of large legal bills, weakening of social and environmental regulation and increased tax burdens for people, often in countries with critical social and economic needs.
Yet while these financial and social costs have started to become ever more visible, one sector has remained largely obscured from public view and that is the legal industry that has profited from this litigation boom. This report seeks to address that by examining the key players in the investment arbitration industry for the first time. It seeks to shine a light on law firms, arbitrators and litigation funders that have profited handsomely from lawsuits against governments.
The report shows that the arbitration industry is far from a passive beneficiary of international investment law. They are rather highly active players, many with strong personal and commercial ties to multinational companies and prominent roles in academia who vigorously defend the international investment regime. They not only seek every opportunity to sue governments, but also have campaigned forcefully and successfully against any reforms to the international investment regime.
The international investment arbitration system was justified and put in place by Western governments with the argument that a fair and neutral dispute settlement system was needed to protect their corporations’ investments from perceived bias and corruption within national courts. Investment arbitrators were to be the guardians and guarantors of this regime.
Yet rather than acting as fair and neutral intermediaries, it has become clear that the arbitration industry has a vested interest in perpetuating an investment regime that prioritises the rights of investors at the expense of democratically elected national governments and sovereign states. They have built a multimillion-dollar, self-serving industry, dominated by a narrow exclusive elite of law firms and lawyers whose interconnectedness and multiple financial interests raise serious concerns about their commitment to deliver fair and independent judgements. As a result, the arbitration industry shares responsibility for an international investment regime that is neither fair, nor independent, but deeply flawed and business-biased.
- The number of investment arbitration cases, as well as the sum of money involved, has surged in the last two decades from 38 cases in 1996 (registered at ICSID, the World Bank’s body for administering such disputes) to 450 known investor-state cases in 2011. The amount of money involved has also expanded dramatically. In 2009/2010, 151 investment arbitration cases involved corporations demanding at least US$100 million from states.
- The boom in arbitration has created bonanza profits for investment lawyers paid for by taxpayers. Legal and arbitration costs average over US$8 million per investor-state dispute, exceeding US$30 million in some cases. Elite law firms charge as much as US$1,000 per hour, per lawyer – with whole teams handling cases. Arbitrators also earn hefty salaries, amounting up to almost US$1 million in one reported case. These costs are paid by taxpayers, including in countries where people do not even have access to basic services. For example, the Philippine government spent US$58 million defending two cases against German airport operator Fraport; money that could have paid the salaries of 12,500 teachers for one year or vaccinated 3.8 million children against diseases such as TB, diphtheria, tetanus and polio.
- The international investment arbitration industry is dominated by a small and tight-knit Northern hemisphere-based community of law firms and elite arbitrators. a) Three top law firms – Freshfields (UK), White & Case (US) and King & Spalding (US) – claim to have been involved in 130 investment treaty cases in 2011 alone. b) Just 15 arbitrators, nearly all from Europe, the US or Canada, have decided 55% of all known investment-treaty disputes. This small group of lawyers, referred to by some as an ‘inner mafia’, sit on the same arbitration panels, act as both arbitrators and counsels and even call on each other as witnesses in arbitration cases. This has led to growing concerns, including within the broader legal community, over conflicts of interest.
- Arbitrators tend to defend private investor rights above public interest, revealing an inherent pro-corporate bias. Several prominent arbitrators have been members of the board of major multinational corporations, including those which have filed cases against developing nations. Nearly all share businesses’ belief in the paramount impor- tance of protecting private profits. In many cases concerning public interest decisions, such as measures taken by Argentina in the context of its economic crisis, arbitrators have failed to consider anything but corporations’ claims of lost profits in their rulings. Many arbitrators vocally rejected a proposal by International Court of Justice Judge Bruno Simma to give greater consideration to international environmental and human rights law in investment arbitration.
- Law firms with specialised arbitration departments seek out every opportunity to sue countries – encouraging lawsuits against governments in crisis, most recently Greece and Libya, and promoting use of multiple invest- ment treaties to secure the best advantages for corporations. They encourage corporations to use lawsuit threats as a political weapon in order to weaken or prevent laws on public health or environmental protection. Investment lawyers have become the new international ‘ambulance chasers’, in a similar way to lawyers who chase hospital wagons to the emergency room in search for legal clients.
- Investment lawyers, including elite arbitrators, have aggressively promoted investment arbitration as a necessary condition for the attraction of foreign investment, despite evidence to the contrary. Risks to states of acceding to investor-state arbitration are downplayed or dismissed.
- Investment lawyers have encouraged governments to sign investment treaties using language that maximises possibilities for litigation. They have then used these vaguely worded treaty provisions to increase the number of cases. Statistical study based on 140 investment-treaty cases shows that arbitrators consistently adopt an expansive (claimant-friendly) interpretation of various clauses, such as the concept of investment. Meanwhile arbitration lawyers have taken a restrictive approach in international law when it comes to human and social rights.
- Arbitration law firms as well as elite arbitrators have used positions of influence to actively lobby against any reforms to the international investment regime, notably in the US and the EU. Their actions, backed by corporations, succeeded in preventing changes that would enhance government’s policy space to regulate in the US investment treaties that had been proposed by US President Barack Obama when he came to office. Several arbitrators have also loudly denounced nations that have questioned the international investment regime.
- There is a revolving door between investment lawyers and government policy-makers that bolsters an unjust investment regime. Several prominent investment lawyers were chief negotiators of investment treaties (or free trade agreements with investment protection chapters) and defended their governments in investor-state disputes. Others are actively sought as advisers and opinion-makers by government and influence legislation.
- Investment lawyers have a firm grip on academic discourse on investment law and arbitration, producing a large part of the academic writings on the subject, controlling on average 74% of editorial boards of the key journals on investment law, and frequently failing to disclose the way they personally benefit from the system. This raises concerns over academic balance and independence.
- The investment arbitration system is becoming increasingly integrated with the speculative financial world, with investment funds helping fund investor-state disputes in exchange for a share in any granted award or settlement. This is likely to further fuel the boom in arbitrations, increase costs for cash-strapped governments, and raises concerns of potential conflicts of interest because of a dense web of personal relationships that link financiers to arbitrators, lawyers and investors. Firms such as Juridica (UK), Burford (US) and Omni Bridgeway (NL) have already become an established part of international investment arbitration, in the absence of any regulation of their activities. This financialisation of investment arbitration has even extended to proposals to sell on packages of lawsuits to third parties, in the vein of the disastrous credit default swaps behind the global financial crisis.
The backlash has not gone unnoticed by members of the investment arbitration industry. Some insiders are ready to confront the challenges with proposals for moderate reform, such as greater transparency. But these proposals do not address the inherent flaws and corporate bias of the investment arbitration system. We believe only systemic reform, based around principles that consider human rights and the environment as more important than corporate profits, can deliver necessary change. This must start with the termination of existing investment agreements and a moratorium on signing new ones.
Nevertheless even within the existing system, there are some steps that can be taken to help to roll back the power of the arbitration industry. This report calls for a switch to independent, transparent adjudicative bodies, where arbitrators’ independence and impartiality is secured; the introduction of tough regulations to guard against conflicts of interest; a cap on legal costs; and greater transparency regarding government lobbying by the industry. These steps will not by themselves transform the investor-state arbitration system. Without governments turning away from investment arbitration, the system will remain skewed in favour of big business and the highly lucrative arbitration industry.
Errata: Originally we had reported that arbitrator Albert Jan van den Berg had acted as counsel in 1 case. This was a mistake. We rectify that there is no known case in which Mr van den Berg has fulfilled that role.
International Investment Regime and BITs 76 pages Helen Burley (eds.) Profiting from Injustice (pdf, 1.22MB) About the authors Cecilia Olivet Cecilia Olivet is a political scientist who has specialised in the European Union's trade and investment agenda, the international investment regime and regional integration issues. Cecilia is Uruguayan, has a BA degree in International Relations from Universidad de la República in Uruguay and an MA in International Politics and East Asia from Warwick University, UK. In 2005, she joined TNI where she contributes to the Economic Justice, Corporate Power and Alternatives team with research, analysis, campaigning and network facilitation. She coordinates the initiative People's Agenda for Alternative Regionalisms (PAAR) and is involved in the work of networks such as Seattle to Brussels (S2B), Our World is not for Sale (OWINFS) and Bi-regional Network Europe-Latin America Enlazando Alternativas.
BELOW YOU SEE WHO IS ON THESE CONGRESSIONAL COMMITTEES WRITING THIS LEGISLATION. THEY WORK WITH A BROAD GROUP OF PEOPLE SO THEY AREN'T SOLELY RESPONSIBLE. NOTICE WHO THE DEMOCRATS ARE......SCHUMER OF NEW YORK WHO IS RANKED AS POSSIBLE SENATE LEADER AFTER HARRY REID......STABENOW OF MICHIGAN (YOU SEE NOW WHY THE UNIONS DIDN'T HAVE A CHANCE IN MICHIGAN ---THIRD WAY DEMOCRATS LEADING THE STATE)....WE SEE JOHN KERRY AND KNOW HOW HE WAS CHOSEN TO RUN FOR PRESIDENT. ALL OF THESE PEOPLE ARE ON THESE COMMITTEES BECAUSE THE ARE INTENT ON WRITING THESE BAD TRADE LAWS
United States Senate Finance Subcommittee on International Trade, Customs, and Global Competitiveness From Wikipedia,
The Senate Finance Subcommittee on International Trade, Customs, and Global Competitiveness is one of the six subcommittees within the Senate Committee on Finance
Members, 112th Congress The Subcommittee is chaired by Democrat Ron Wyden of Oregon, and the Ranking Minority Member is Republican John Thune of South Dakota
- Ron Wyden, Oregon, Chairman
- Jay Rockefeller, West Virginia
- John F. Kerry, Massachusetts
- Charles E. Schumer, New York
- Debbie Stabenow, Michigan
- Bill Nelson, Florida
- Robert Menendez, New Jersey
- John Thune, South Dakota, Ranking Member
- Orrin G. Hatch, Utah
- Chuck Grassley, Iowa
- Mike Crapo, Idaho
- Pat Roberts, Kansas
United States House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Trade
The House Way and Means Subcommittee on Trade is one of the six subcommittees within the House Ways and Means Committee
Jurisdiction From the House Rules:
- The jurisdiction of the Subcommittee on Trade shall include bills and matters referred to the Committee on Ways and Means that relate to customs and customs administration including tariff and import fee structure, classification, valuation of and special rules applying to imports, and special tariff provisions and procedures which relate to customs operation affecting exports and imports; import trade matters, including import impact, industry relief from injurious imports, adjustment assistance and programs to encourage competitive responses to imports, unfair import practices including anti-dumping and countervailing duty provisions, and import policy which relates to dependence on foreign sources of supply; commodity agreements and reciprocal trade agreements including multilateral and bilateral trade negotiations and implementation of agreements involving tariff and non-tariff trade barriers to and distortions of international trade; international rules, organizations and institutional aspects of international trade agreements; budget authorizations for the customs revenue functions of the Department of Homeland Security, the U.S. International Trade Commission, and the U.S. Trade Representative; and special trade-related problems involving market access, competitive conditions of specific industries, export policy and promotion, access to materials in short supply, bilateral trade relations including trade with developing countries, operations of multinational corporations, and trade with non-market economies.
Members, 112th Congress Majority Minority
- Kevin Brady, Texas, Chairman
- Geoff Davis, Kentucky
- Dave Reichert, Washington
- Wally Herger, California
- Devin Nunes, California
- Vern Buchanan, Florida
- Adrian Smith, Nebraska
- Aaron Schock, Illinois
- Lynn Jenkins, Kansas
- Jim McDermott, Washington, Ranking Member
- Richard Neal, Massachusetts
- Lloyd Doggett, Texas
- Joe Crowley, New York
- John Larson, Connecticut
- Dave Camp, Michigan