..."It wouldn't matter if a substance was liquid plutonium destined for a child's breakfast cereal. If the government bans a product and a US based company loses profits, the company can claim damages under NAFTA."
(Source : http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/05/14/trade-deal-food-safety- n7287622.html )
This bone chilling response came from a corporate attorney working for the Ethyl Corporation, during a 1997 NAFTA challenge against the Canadian government. Canada had outlawed the gasoline additive MMT over possible health concerns. Ethyl was the U.S. corporation that produced the gasoline additive MMT which had been banned in Canada. Ethyl corporation brought its objections to the international arbitration panel under the Investor-State Dispute Settlement system, aka ISDS; to claim damages for lost profits, under NAFTA. Ethyl argued that the law banning this additive was ...'tantamount to expropriation.' (Source : http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/05/14/trade-deal-food-safety-_n_7287622.html )
Under NAFTA--Ethyl won and consumers lost. The Canadian government had to transfer 13 million from taxpayers-- to Ethyl. The Canadian people's right to self-govern was nullified by this corporate pseudo-legal theft. Concerns over possible health damage or even the right of self-governance were sacrificed to the gods of corporate profits. Subsequently the callous arrogance of the 'liquid plutonium in Junior's Captain Crunch' commentary, merely matched the arrogance of this new class of 'corporate royalists'--namely the arbitrators of the Investor-State Dispute Settlement industry, aka--ISDS.
ISDS--the core weapon of mass destruction in BIT's/MIT's/IIT's, including TPP/TTIP...
The Investor-State Dispute Settlement contrivance (or ISDS), is the political 'wet-dream' of the 'judicial-industrial complex.' A Goliath by legal standards; ISDS is the extra-judicial glue which holds together a new, more lethal form of corporate feudalism. Corporations and corporate legal firms win, and the rest of us lose, as armies of 'arbitration' attorneys and appointed arbitrators create 'get out of jail free' cards for corporate criminals--wholesale.
What is ISDS?
ISDS or international investor arbitration is an alleged mediation tool between party signatories of any IIT. It was created by the granddaddy of all IIT's--namely NAFTA, under Bill Clinton. Chapter 11 of NAFTA empowers ISDS as the instrument to provide foreign investors standing for ..."legal certainty." (Source : http://www.state.gov/s/l/c3439.htm ) Foreign investors, (read foreign corporations), demanded an end-run around the legitimate 'rule of law', in what they perceived as unstable nations. Apparently, democracies are considered 'unstable.'
These foreign corporations weren't satisfied with the gamble involved in any business investment--they demanded a 'stacked deck.' Thus, the semantic device dubbed 'legal certainty' was born, and with it--the international arbitration tribunal. No rights exist in these arbitrations tribunals, unless the tribunal says so--period. ISDS was devised to provide legal cover for massive corporate theft via the use of secretive arbitration tribunals--aka the 'legal mafia.' (Source : http://globalarbitrationreview.com/article/30863/taking-inner-mafia(7-11-2012 ).
ISDS thus became--the bastard child of NAFTA.
How ISDS works...
Three corporate attorneys are appointed to serve as de facto, judge, jury and executioner, in a one-sided lawsuit, of any unfortunate nation daring to challenge corporate rule, through actual self-government as an independent state. Under ISDS, international corporations have been granted unlimited rights to sue any government over alleged profits loss, whether real or imagined. Corporations may also sue for any argued future profits loss. Corporations have the power to claim unlimited monetary damages, and taxpayers foot the bill.
The arbitrators themselves are unelected and unknown to the general public. All proceedings of the 'arbitration' are secret. No right of appeal exists for any nation-state. Payment arrangements to the arbitrators are also withheld from the public.
Any area of law is subject to the ISDS panel. The most recent IIT, namely the US Trans-Pacific Pact or TPP has been the subject of intense fighting between President Obama and his corporate allies and the political far left over the surrender of national sovereignty to the arbitration lawyers.
Leaked draft texts of the TPP describe 'investor protections' which further incentivize increased offshoring of jobs with undisclosed 'benefits.' Regulation of finance capital, such as banning derivatives, currency manipulation and other .."financial weapons of mass destruction" would be prohibited. U.S. Property rights to public natural resources are struck down in favor of vaguely worded 'international standards,' which would be determined by the unelected international tribunal in secret deliberations, never meant to see the light of day.