Obama’s Trade Agreements Are a Gift to Corporations

by Robert Kuttner,  The American Prospect

Late last week, legislation moved forward that would give President Obama authority to negotiate two contentious trade deals: the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). But for the most part, these aren’t trade agreements at all. They’re a gift to corporations, here and in partner countries that view purely domestic regulations as restraints of trade.

If these deals pass, the pharmaceutical industry could get new leverage to undermine regulations requiring the use of generic drugs. The tobacco industry has used similar “trade” provisions to challenge package label warnings.

A provision in both deals, known as Investor State Dispute Settlement, would allow corporations to do end runs around national governments by taking their claims to special tribunals, with none of the due process of normal law. This provision has attracted the most opposition. It’s such a stinker that one of the proposed member nations, Australia, got an exemption for its health and environmental policies.   Read the entire story.

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