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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 5/26/15

The TPP - A Sampling of What to Expect

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Since the signing of various "trade agreements" such as NAFTA, CAFTA, and other FTA's the investor-state-tribunals have ordered taxpayers to pay $444.1 Million to foreign investors in addition to paying half of the costs of the arbitrations as well as attorney charges in those not only won by the government (there were actually 22 cases in which the government prevailed), but of course those in which the tribunal ruled against the government. In most of these the environment, the economy, the health of the people, land use, public transportation, or other laws and/or regulations set by the government are superceded

While there were approximately 50 claims in the early decade of these agreements in the years 2011- 2014 there have been over 50 cases each year brought to these investor state tribunals where private entities bring suit against public governments -, giving the private firms the same sovereign rights as the government, thus creating a "privatized judicial system".

While we do not know what the new agreements, such as The Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) and those that will follow, contain as they are being kept secret from not only the public, but legislators who will be asked to vote on them. Lately, legislators have been accorded the right to read the TPP, but under very strict conditions, such as no notes can leave the room and they cannot discuss any of the document or let the people know what it contains. Because of the secrecy one can only reasonably surmise it strengthens the private firm's ability to rape the taxpayers even more.

One can only assume these new investor state agreements will not only doom democracy by stripping nations of their sovereign rights, but will put multi-national corporations and financial institutions in control of laws and regulations. Has anyone wondered why our legislators haven't taken raising the minimum wage? With the TPP multi-nationals will supercede those and pay whatever they feel is necessary to be competitive globally and the investor-state-tribunal will make the award. The people, our government, will have no recourse.

While these tribunals have awarded $441.1 Million under the agreements already in place, the Public Citizen Organization reports there are over $34 BILLION still pending. Some of those are listed and a brief description given below:

Mesa Power Group, a U.S.-based corporation owned by Texas oil magnate T. Boone Pickens, challenged a green jobs program of the government of Ontario. The provincial government's green jobs program incentivizes clean energy production by paying preferential rates to solar and wind power generators that source their equipment locally. In its first two years, the program created 20,000 jobs, attracted $27 billion in private investment, and contracted 4,600 megawatts of renewable energy.24 Mesa Power Group claimed that the successful program had prohibitive rules, taking particular issue with the buy local stipulations. The corporation alleged that such requirements violate its NAFTA-enshrined rights to most favored nation treatment, national treatment, and fair and equitable treatment.

Pending, asking $746 Million

Mercer International, a US-based wood pulp company, challenged Canadian energy sector regulations.26 At issue was the treatment that Mercer's subsidiary, the Celgar Pulp Mill, received from the provincial government of British Columbia and BC Hydro, a public provincial power company. Mercer alleged that the public entities unfairly discriminated against Celgar by offering lower input electricity rates to its BC-based competitors. Celgar, like other mills, both purchases and generates electricity. Mercer claimed that while domestic mills were permitted to sell their electricity at high rates and buy at low rates, provincial regulation prevented Celgar from doing so. The company alleged violations of national treatment, most favored nation treatment, the minimum standard of treatment, and provisions concerning monopolies and state enterprises.27 Nearly 75 percent of the $250 million claim is for projected future lost profits.28

Pending, asking $246 Million

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Dennis Kaiser is an author and consultant focusing on individual rights. As a US citizen Dennis is deeply concerned over how our nation has fallen from being productive and full of hope to one where that hope is being stripped from the majority (more...)

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