Washington – Supporters of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) like to claim that, “No trade agreement is going to force us to change our laws.” However, today we have more evidence of how the opposite may be true.
Canadian company TransCanada today announced its intention to file a claim under NAFTA seeking to recover more than $15 billion as a result of President Obama’s rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline. As Bloomberg reports:
“The company also gave notice of its intent to initiate a claim under the North American Free Trade Agreement. Through the NAFTA claim, TransCanada said it is seeking to recover more than $15 billion in costs and damages that it has suffered as a result of the permit denial.
Obama rejected Keystone on Nov. 6 after seven years of review, saying it would undercut U.S. global leadership on climate change and wouldn’t make a meaningful contribution to the nation’s economy or energy security.”
In addition to the new TransCanada claim under NAFTA, recent World Trade Organization (WTO) rulings against the U.S. country-of-origin labeling (COOL) rules for beef and pork offer further reminders of how trade pacts and international tribunals can undermine U.S. laws and regulations. In May, the WTO issued a ruling against COOL and in December weighed in again to rule that Canada and Mexico may impose “retaliatory tariffs” against the U.S. totaling approximately $1 billion on imported American products. In response to the WTO rulings, Congress almost immediately repealed COOL rules for beef and pork.
Now, the controversial ISDS provision of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) could provide a new mechanism to challenge U.S. laws and regulations.
According to Shane Larson, Legislative Director for the Communications Workers of America (CWA), “Whether it’s TransCanada’s new NAFTA challenge or the recent COOL ruling, we have an unfortunate volume of recent reminders of how trade pacts can be used by corporations to undercut U.S. domestic policy decisions, laws, and regulations. And make no mistake, passing the TPP would allow dramatically more companies in more countries to challenge U.S. laws and regulations.”
CONTACT: Michael Allen firstname.lastname@example.org at 202-434-1168