International political corporate allies seek a further expansion of power
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A few days ago an alert received from George Monbiot pointed out that the proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) would greatly extend their power in the European Union by including the investor-state dispute settlement system in trade treaties.
This would allow big business to sue governments: a panel of corporate lawyers could overrule the will of parliament and remove legal protections from the individual.
He points out that investor-state dispute settlements are already being used in favour of corporates in many parts of the world, for example:
- The Australian government, which decided cigarettes should be sold in plain packets marked with health warnings, is being sued for the loss of the tobacco company’s intellectual property.
- Argentina imposed a freeze on people’s energy and water bills. It was successfully sued by the international utility companies whose bills had prompted the government to act.
- In El Salvador, local communities persuaded the government to refuse permission for a vast gold mine which threatened to contaminate their water supplies. The Canadian company which sought to dig the mine is now suing El Salvador for $315m – for the loss of anticipated future profits.
- In Canada, the courts revoked two patents owned by the US drugs firm Eli Lilly, because the company had not produced enough evidence that they had the beneficial effects claimed. Eli Lilly is now suing the Canadian government for $500m and demanding that Canada’s patent laws are changed.
Monbiot thinks that the US and the European Commission have been captured by the corporations they are supposed to regulate, and are pressing for investor-state dispute resolution to be included in the agreement because our courts are generally not biased or lacking independence:
“The EC seeks to replace open, accountable, sovereign courts with a closed, corrupt system riddled with conflicts of interest and arbitrary powers”.
Political corporate alliances are also vigorously seeking to extend power in the Pacific region via the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)
Posted on November 6, 2013, in Corporate political nexus, Democracy undermined, Government, Lobbying, Parliamentary failure, Planning, Vested interests and tagged European Commission, European Union, George Monbiot, Investor-state dispute settlement, Transatlantic Trade and Investment, USA. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.