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Good news on TTIP: Germans don't want Investor-State Dispute Settlement provisions

Larry Cohen of the Communications Workers of America in HuffPo:

As negotiations move forward on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), a wide range of German elected and civic leaders are in disbelief that the U.S. remains serious about including Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS). From the German perspective, that's a failed 20th century approach. U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman increasingly will hear from German leaders and others in Europe that continuing U.S. support for ISDS as an element in any trade deal is a non-starter. ISDS provides for secret tribunals that allow multinational corporations to sue nation states for loss of future profits and circumvent national laws and courts.

By most benchmarks, Germany is the most successful large economy in the world, with a rising standard of living, an educational system that creates real opportunity to move from school to work, a deep economic safety net, and worker participation in economic decision making. Participatory mechanisms include sector-based collective bargaining, works councils at every workplace, and codetermination on the board of directors that provides employee representatives with a significant voice in corporate decision-making.

[T]hanks to a suit brought by the Swedish energy firm Vattenfall against the German government, opposition to ISDS is nearly universal.

Vattenfall is suing Germany for billions in future lost profits due to German Chancellor Angela Merkel's proclamation that after the horrors of Fukushima, Germany no longer supports nuclear energy development, as Der Spiegel International reports.

Awesome.

Probably Obama sucking up all Merkel's phone conversations isn't helping either. Not make or break -- Obama and Merkel are both big kids -- but probably adds an element of friction, as well as Europeans making for darn certain they are talking only amongst themselves when they talk, hardening division, I would think.

So, good news on the trade front at last. Fingers crossed!

UPDATE Here's a roundup of European bigfoot opinion.

UPDATE Then again, perhaps the tribunals are a bargaining chip for American (as opposed to Russian) gas:

Gaining access to some of the oil and gas gushing from North Dakota, Texas, and other states will be high on their priority list for this week's talks on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), a proposed US-EU trade agreement currently under negotiation.

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jo6pac's picture
Submitted by jo6pac on

problem with this is Germany is in charge or the eu? I do wish Germany makes the right choice but the govt won't.

I hope they stand down on Amerika wet dream on any Amerikan neo-con ideas on more bat-shit-crazy ideas that they think will hurt Russia. Then again I can dream can't I

mellon's picture
Submitted by mellon on

germany agreed never to change their law in a way that would adversely effect the profits of the investor. Investor will be indemnified against all future eventualities at the public's expense.

http://www.italaw.com/search/site/vattenfall

, in this era of highly mobile capital looking for ever larger returns on their investments, Vattenfall, the investor is "in charge".

>problem with this is Germany is in charge or the eu? I do wish Germany makes the right choice but the govt won't.

Exactly, don't count on them making any other decision than capitulating. They just want to maintain the appearances.

Its a brave new world now of corporate ownership of the ultimate right to do whatever they want to whomever they want

mellon's picture
Submitted by mellon on

They can't drop something as important as that without starting from the beginning, so they never would.

Thats like Vermont saying they want single payer without actually getting rid of insurance companies. It wont work. The whole thing is based on ISDS. Look at the fracking expansion, which will require huge investments, more than one billion dollars, to build at least two huge LNG ports to ship the natural gas overseas.

Once the investors invest the US may be enslaved to it, suppose they oversell the US reserves (quite likely) we wont be able to stop it without paying them many billions of dollars in free money. See where this is potentially going? Its a potential scam. Like the "S&L crisis" (bailout), and the "subprime lending crisis" (bailout). Another manufactured crisis, and another potentially huge scam on the American people.

And everyone wants in. They aren't going to give that ISDS up, because thats not a contingency plan, that's the payload of free money.

What is ISDS? http://tpplegal.files.wordpress.com/2012/05/isds-domestic-legal-process-...

http://www.tni.org/sites/www.tni.org/files/download/nofrackingway.pdf

Also, isn't it obvious? The fact of the matter is, the UNITES STATES wants to use ISDS to block single payer for good, to cover up the fact that they sold us out with FTAs 20 years ago and lied about it since then. The politicians want to cover that betrayal up very badly.

So I wouldn't jump to any conclusions on anything not happening- consider the situation extremely dangerous until the whole thing is over. They are crooks. They are pros at deception. Its what they do.

TTIP, TiSA and TPP are attacks on our country's future as long as they contain ISDS AND standstill AND ratchet AND deregulations of banks, and attacks on the precautionary principle, toxic chemical laws and food safety laws and environmental regulations.

Frankly, I challenge anybody to show me anything that is good in there that doesn't clearly have a huge downside for somebody weak and powerless.

Submitted by lambert on

Extracting from your last para:

TTIP, TiSA and TPP are attacks on our country's future as long as they contain:

  1. ISDS
  2. Standstill
  3. Ratchet
  4. Deregulation
  5. Attacks on the precautionary principle

(I left out examples of "deregulation.")

It seems to me, however, that ISDS is different in kind from all the others and a linchpin of the entire structure, because that's a direct assault on state sovereignty as such.

What is the "precautionary princple?"

mellon's picture
Submitted by mellon on

and important principle - Basically, when there is some doubt about the safety of a situation, and lives are at stake, the precautionary principle says "err on the side of caution".. This concept makes the some US industry and agribusiness angry because here in the US they arguably get to do whatever they want until it can be proven that its dangerous- the increasingly politicized US system is making any kind of compensation or justice very difficult for the injured parties. So they are attacking..

Here is the official text of the precautionary principle:

"When an activity raises threats of harm to human health or the environment, precautionary measures should be taken even if some cause and effect relationships are not fully established scientifically. In this context the proponent of an activity, rather than the public, should bear the burden of proof. The process of applying the precautionary principle must be open, informed and democratic and must include potentially affected parties. It must also involve an examination of the full range of alternatives, including no action."

- Wingspread Statement on the Precautionary Principle, Jan. 1998"

So, TTIP wants to eliminate the precautionary principle, and lower the other standards to the lowest common denominator level- "regulatory convergence" they call it..

And then require all changes go through one authority. they also want to "eliminate duplicative testing" - What they want is control over scientific information that has health implications.

This approach is able to gain the ear of the US government largely because of ignorance on scientific matters and the growing influence of professional PR, using techniques pioneered by the tobacco industry. Disinformation.

Thats why (IMO) LOTS of dangerous chemicals have not been regulated in the US that should have been.

Read this: [A Toxic Partnership](http://www.ciel.org/Publications/ToxicPartnership_Mar2014.pdf)

also

[Leaked: US And EU Chemical Lobbies Fighting To "Freeze" Industry Regulation](http://www.mintpressnews.com/leaked-us-and-eu-chemical-lobbies-fighting-...)

Long overdue environmental or chemical law changes will be extremely hard to get because they will require 32 or 33 (I think) countries to all agree on them.

Submitted by lambert on

If those are the bullet points, I can run with them. Are they?