BETTY ADAMS: TTP agreement would allow companies to sue U.S.

TO THE EDITOR:

On Jan. 6, TransCanada Corporation filed a lawsuit in federal court alleging President Barack Obama’s rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline exceeded his power under the U.S. Constitution.

TransCanada also filed legal action, seeking $15 billions, under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) claiming the pipeline permit denial was “arbitrary and unjustified.”

In May, President Obama delivered a speech at Nike in Beaverton, Ore., where he defended the pending Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal.

He said, “Critics warn that parts of this deal would undermine American regulation, food safety, worker safety, even financial regulations. They’re making this stuff up. This is just not true. No trade agreement is going to force us to change our laws.”

Even though it is a $3 billion pipeline, under the NAFTA investor-state system, a foreign corporation can go around our courts, around our laws, and demand compensation. They don’t just get money for what they’ve spent on a project, they get to be compensated for expected future profits, thus suing for $15 billion.

Because the U.S. made a democratic decision that their commercial project wasn’t in our national interest, we should pay them $15 billion?

One month ago, Congress gutted another consumer law which called for labeling meats with country of origin in the U.S.

Canada and Mexico sued and won litigation in a NAFTA Tribunal because the labeling defied the NAFTA Free Trade agreement.

Consumers and the U.S. Meat Industry worked 50 years to acquire the legislation included in the 2008 Farm Bill. It seems Congress felt they must rescind the law to prevent paying billions of dollars in trade sanctions.

The tribunal consists of three private sector attorneys, there are no judges. There are no conflict-of-interest or impartiality rules. They rotate between one day suing a government for a corporation and the next day being the judge. There’s no outside appeal, and there’s no limit on how much money they can order a government to pay. If the government doesn’t pay, the company has the right to seize government assets. The TPP is said to be NAFTA on steroids.

We have 50 agreements among the 9,000 companies cross-registered. Very few of those companies have investments in the U. S.

If the TPP passes, immediately 9,500 more companies — big multinationals from Japan, in banking and manufacturing; mining firms from Australia, etc., will have the right to sue the U.S. government.

These two, recent lawsuits clearly indicate President Obama to have been in error on his claim that the critics were making this stuff up. The language used in the TransCanada Corporation’s brief is the exact language used in the TPP.

You can learn much more about the TPP at www.PublicCitizen.org or www.tradewatch.org. Please contact your legislators and urge them to vote no when the TPP agreement comes to a vote.

Betty Adams

Onekama

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