CWA News

Under TPP, Multinationals Could Challenge US Laws, and Win

Multinational corporations are celebrating the new advantage they hope to get under the TPP. TPP would allow corporations to sue governments over any laws or regulations that could affect their "expected future profits."

Don't believe it? It's already happening under trade agreements already in effect, like the World Trade Organization treaty and other agreements between nations. And the TPP would open the door to even more corporate control over democratically passed laws and important public health regulations.

Australia has a tough anti-smoking program, including restrictions on advertising and packaging enacted as part of public policy to prevent smoking deaths and illness in the U.S. This law was challenged by Philip Morris and other tobacco industry allies in Australian courts. The Australia High Court rejected the tobacco industry's claims. End of story, right?

Not even close. Philip Morris and partners are challenging Australia's smoking regulations before international tribunals that review "violations" of trade agreements. They claim that Australia's law violates "intellectual property rights." The UN's Commission on International Trade Law is reviewing the case now. The TPP would make even more such challenges possible.

It's not the only example of multinational corporations challenging the right of a country to set its own laws and policies. There are 500 cases pending against many nations, brought by corporations seeking $15 billion in compensation for the future loss of profits.

And TPP would make it illegal for food distributors in the U.S. to label in what country a product originated.