Corporations have an unfair advantage over sovereign nations under many trade and investment agreements. Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS), embedded in numerous trade and investment agreements, has created a global governance regime that prioritizes corporate rights over those of governments, people, and the planet. These rules give special rights to multinational corporations that are not available to domestic businesses. If a corporation alleges that a government action, such as the banning of a toxic chemical or rejection of a mining permit, violates their special corporate rights, ISDS provides the corporation the ability to sue a government for compensation outside of the countries’ domestic legal and court systems. ISDS claims are often in the millions or billions of dollars. An unaccountable three-person tribunal decides the fate of each case. The tribunal can even decide a company should be paid for the “expected future profits” it may have earned in the absence of the government policy in question. The ISDS regime has been especially detrimental to public health, climate and environmental protections, Indigenous land rights, financial regulations, and democratic sovereignty.
Your administration has overseen the largest investment in clean jobs and climate action ever. The Inflation Reduction Act, and other components of the Bidenomics agenda, are just the sort of transformative policies the world will need to face the challenges ahead. They are also just the sort of public interest policies that corporations love to attack via ISDS.
The labor, environmental, faith, consumer, and other civil society organizations signed below appreciate that you have followed through on your promise and have not pursued new trade and investment agreements with the Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) system.
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