How the U.S.-EU Trade Deal would Grant Sweeping Corporate Privileges
The Trans-Atlantic Free Trade Agreement (TAFTA) is in trouble. Report after report has indicated that the massive U.S.-EU deal is on shaky ground now that the NSA spying scandal has fueled European privacy concerns and botched the hopes of U.S. telecommunications firms to use the deal to downsize data privacy protections.
But there's another polemical component of TAFTA that could prove just as critical in contributing to the deal's unraveling: the extreme corporate privileges of the "investor-state" system slated for inclusion in the pact. About 10,000 people in the U.S. lambasted this extreme provision within 32 hours last month, spurred by a single email, in comments to the Obama administration on TAFTA
Corporate Europe Observatory and the Transnational Institute have teamed up to publish a joint report taking a closer look at how the inclusion of investor privileges in the agreement would grant exorbitant rights to corporations and threaten crucial public interest laws in both the U.S. and the EU.
The report outlines the lobbying efforts of corporations advocating for the inclusion of investor privileges in the agreement. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce said in a statement to USTR that the investment chapter of the U.S.–EU trade pact should serve as "the 'gold standard’ for other investment agreements.” Chevron has requested that TAFTA require governments to fulfill foreign investors' "expectations" and that such investor privileges cover “both existing and future investments." Chevron is intimately familiar with the investor-state system, having launched an investor-state case against Ecuador to avoid paying the $18 billion that Ecuadorian courts have ordered the company to hand over to clean up its mass-contamination of the Amazonian rainforest.
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