The Left Continues Its Assault on the ISDS Provision in the TPP Trade Deal

The American political left continues to raise its objections over a key provision of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal known as Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS). President Obama has rightly pointed out that ISDS provisions have been in place in US trade agreements since the 1950s. He also cited that only a several such court challenges against US laws or regulations ever made it to trial before the special courts. In each case, the United States has prevailed. For this reason, the president argues there is no need to be concerned about the ISDS provisions in the TPP trade treaty. In fact, he castigated his own party for pushing forth the notion that US labor and environmental regulation are at risk.

However, the left is countering that the political landscape of ISDS is changing. It is well known that the US financial overhaul known as Dodd-Frank is onerous. It goes well beyond anything that European regulators and other foreign markets have enacted according to Igor Cornelsen. In fact, US corporations have increasingly moved their headquarters overseas in order to escape Dodd-Frank compliance. The left fears it may be these same companies that will now be able to launch challenges against key aspects of Dodd-Frank in ISDS courts outside of the jurisdiction of the United States. In these courts, the companies will not be required to challenge the law on constitutional grounds. Rather, they will be able to challenge them based on whether the regulations impact their ability to make profits fairly in the United States.

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