Trade agreements, to what purposes?

Via Naked Capitalism reminds us of several thing about the current round of trade agreements, which would increase the ability of international corporations to sue governments both local and national for ‘loss of profits’.

As the Obama administration negotiates new trade agreements with European and Pacific nations, a battle has emerged over the agreements’ egregious rules that grant giant corporations unreasonable powers to subvert democracy. These rules, dubbed “investor rights” by the corporations, allow firms to sue governments over actions—including public interest regulations—that reduce the value of their investments.

Oxfam, the Institute for Policy Studies, and four other non-profits are releasing a new study that explains why these rules are so dangerous to democracy and the environment. We are among the co-authors of this study, titled “Debunking Eight Falsehoods by Pacific Rim Mining/OceanaGold in El Salvador.” The report offers a powerful case study of everything that is wrong with this corporate assault on democracy.

As we write these words, the Canadian mining company Infinito Gold has filed a suit (again in the World Bank’s ICSID) against the government of ecotourism powerhouse Costa Rica. Infinito claims that Costa Rica’s executive, legislative, and judicial branches are all incorrect in banning open-pit mining and denying the corporation a license.
It is time to stop the expansion of undemocratic agreements and support the governments that are seeking alternatives that respect their sovereignty, their peoples’ rights, and their environment.