This infographic illustrates some dimensions about why we believe the World Economic Forum is fundamentally about increasing corporate profits and rewarding political elites rather than “improving the state of the world.” It is an undemocratic, unaccountable and illegitimate institution that, far from improving the world, has over decades reinforced the global crisis of inequality, poverty, and environmental destruction.
The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) is a proposed free trade agreement, in negotiation, between the United States and the European Union. Its proponents claim that the agreement will benefit consumers with lower prices, increased competition and more jobs.
However, very little of the TTIP deals with trade; the vast majority of the agreement relates to government regulations and will therefore have huge implications in matters such as food sovereignty, digital rights and the environment. It will limit the capacity of governments and local groups to regulate and increase the capacity of transnational corporations to act with impunity. TNI’s focus for TTIP and other free trade agreements is on the investment chapter, and particularly the problems caused by Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) mechanisms that allow corporations to sue governments for actions that affect their profits.
Investment protection mechanisms give corporations the right to sue states if they take any measures – including public interest legislation – that might threaten profits. Wellknown versions of this is the Investor state-dispute mechanism (ISDS) which after rising controversy and critisism has been replaced by the Investment court system (ICS). Investment protection mechanisms are included in most new FTAs. Nevertheless, several governments are starting to reconsider their commitments to it as they recognize the danger that it poses to their sovereignty. TNI has produced extensive research highlighting how investment protection gives corporations far-reaching rights that curtail governments’ sovereignty and drain limited public budgets. It has also revealed the big stakes the legal industry has in these mechanisms.
Malta Today - The transatlantic trade and investement partnership (TTIP) between the European Union and the United States aims to increase economic growth and job on both sides of the Atlantic. However, critics say the TTIP agreements threaten public services.
518 organizations from MATA Myanmar Alliance on Transparency and Accountability and 53 organizations from Lands in Our Hand network and various other civil society organizations express their concerns about investment protection in the EU-Myanmar Agreement.
The rise of Raghuram Rajan and Agustin Carstens to top positions in powerful financial institutions reflects how the "Davos class" is incorporating people from every corner of earth into its neoliberal project.
MintPress News - 'The ability to enact effective and fair tax systems to finance vital public services is one of the defining features of sovereignty,' says Global Justice Now—one that is threatened by corporate trade deals.
Sputnik - Any potential ratification of the controversial TTIP trade deal would play into the hands of large multinational corporations and threaten the ability of EU member states to crack down on tax evasion, new research has claimed.
Public Finance International - A new trade agreement proposed between the United States and the European Union could allow corporations to effectively sue governments who try to collect tax on their profits, campaigners have warned.
Countries around the world have reached a critical moment in the fight against climate change. Last year, hundreds of thousands of people marched in the streets demanding climate action, more than 190 countries reached a climate agreement in Paris, and renewable energy became more affordable and accessible to communities across the globe. Meanwhile, in sharp contradiction to that, countries negotiated new trade deals that would empower fossil fuel corporations to undermine the exact climate and conservation policies that are needed to tackle the climate crisis.
Alexander Kravchuk, Zakhar Popovych, Roeline Knottnerus, Daniel van Heijningen
31 March 2016
On 6 April 2016, the Netherlands voted in a referendum on the EU’s Association Agreement (AA) with Ukraine. The referendum was a special democratic event – 427,939 signatures of citizens were collected to make it possible. With a turnout of 32.2%, just above the 30% threshold, the vote was valid. The deal was rejected by 61.1% of votes, compared with 38.1% in favour.
Cecilia Olivet, Natacha Cingotti, Pia Eberhardt, Nelly Grotefendt, Scott Sinclair
19 April 2016
The European Commission says that its new investment proposal –the Investment Court System - will protect governments' abilities to regulate on crucial matters such as public health and environmental protection. But analysis of five of the most controversial arbitration cases in recent years shows they could still be launched under the current proposal.
248 pages of leaked documents confirm concerns: In a misguided effort to conclude one of the most ambitious trade deals ever, negotiators are arguing away hard-won health, workplace, food, farming and environmental safeguards, while pushing power further from electorates, citizens and regulators, and deeper into the hands of businesses, corporations and interest groups.
Cecilia Olivet, Jaybee Garganera, Farah Sevilla, Joseph Purugganan
24 May 2016
Mining firms have been one of the main corporate sectors worldwide to take advantage of investor-state dispute mechanisms to sue states for regulation of mining, having sued governments for a total of USD 53 billion so far. The Philippines, one of five countries worldwide with the highest overall mineral reserves, has a web of investment treaties which severely constrain the government's ability to regulate or close polluting mines. This legal straitjacket will become even tighter if the EU–Philippines Free Trade Agreement and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) proceed.
In an astonishing move which ignores the opinion of millions of citizens who oppose ISDS, the governments of Austria, France, Finland, Germany and the Netherlands (AFFGN) have made a sly attempt to institutionalise ISDS throughout the European Union. According to a leaked non-paper, on the 7th April representatives of these five nations made a proposal to the EU Council’s Trade Policy Committee which would in effect create a plurilateral treaty based on foreign investment protection within the EU. A move which was suspiciously followed by publication of a similar proposal on Business Europe’s website in what appears to have been a coordinated action.