Germany Stands Up to Global Capital In Trade Talks
|April 4, 2014||Posted by Staff under Activism, Politics|
A 2014 excerpt of Out-Law, Mar 18.
The German government has told European Union officials that it will try to block the inclusion of an investor-to-state dispute settlement (ISDS) clause in the proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).
An ISDS clause is an arbitration mechanism which would allow private investors to sue governments if they believed that local laws were threatening their investments.
The proposal has won backing from businesses but has faced opposition from consumer and environmental groups who claim it could allow investors to challenge broader government policies – such as the ban on fracking currently in place in France.
From the perspective of the [German] federal government, US investors in the EU have sufficient legal protection in the national courts.
ISDS provisions have been common in trade agreements since the 1960s.
Ed. Notes: If German businesses don’t push for overruling local laws, it must mean that a big part of the German public has the power to defend their right to protect nature and consumer. The fact that businesses elsewhere can attack laws that prohibit pollution, etc — if that truly is the intent of global business — then that means the public in America and the rest of Europe lack the power to confront Big Business. Germany is a truer democracy; the other places are not.
To give business credit, at least they take the initiative to push their agenda, however selfish or not it may be, while their opponents waste time merely in opposition.
It’d be nicely ironic if business were to set a precedent that could come back and bite them. That is, it should not be too hard for an investor to show that some corporate welfare favors “hers” competitors, not “hermself”; and to show that taxes on wages, sales, and buildings hurts business while not taxing land and resources favors mere idle ownership. Indeed, rather than protest such clauses in trade treaties, wanna-be defenders of nature and justice could try to use the legal language to bring a “jujitsu” suit to court.