It’s time to leave ISDS: More than 200 labor, environmental and other civil society organizations call on Biden to remove extreme corporate power from existing trade deals



Washington DC – Today, more than 200 civil society organizations sent a letter to President Joe Biden stating, “The effects of withdrawal from Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) by the United States and its existing bilateral investment treaty and free trade agreement partners.” “Pursue a path that is These organizations argue that ISDS, which prioritizes the rights of corporations over the rights of governments, people, and the planet, must be abolished to protect the policies needed to transition to clean energy..

The letter was spearheaded by the AFL-CIO, Sierra Club, and Public Citizen, and signatories include the United Steelworkers, Service Employees International Union, American Federation of Teachers, Amnesty International, Consumer Federation of America, and Economic Policy Research. These include the National Resources Defense Council, the National Resources Defense Council, and the Conservation League. Voters, BlueGreen Alliance, U.S. Public Interest Research Group, National Organization for Women, People’s Center for Democracy, Oxfam America. See the full letter and list of signatories here.

“ISDS creates an unfair playing field that prioritizes the needs of businesses over the needs of workers, their families and the environment. It should be replaced with policies that promote it.” said Kathy Feingold, AFL-CIO’s international director.

“Our cross-sector movement has successfully shifted the conversation on ISDS, and President Biden has rightly acknowledged that ISDS is not part of any future agreements.” Melinda St. Louis, director of global trade monitoring at Public Citizen, said: “We are now calling on the Biden administration to work together to finish the job by removing extreme corporate rights from existing agreements and consigning ISDS to the dustbin of history.”

The letter was sent the day before Biden was scheduled to welcome Latin American leaders to the White House for the Inter-American Economic Prosperity Partnership (APEP) conference, and the day after the White House senator, Sen. Warren (D-Mass.) (D-RI) and Rep. Cohen (D-TN) led 40 of their colleagues in writing to the Biden administration urging it to use the APEP process to remove ISDS from existing regional agreements. did.

Last week, a new report detailed specific legal mechanisms available to end ISDS liability between the United States and APEP countries that have agreements to enforce ISDS. (These are APEP member countries and countries with US ISDS agreements are underlined: Barbados, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Mexico, Panama, Peru, Uruguay. ) And earlier this year, Sen. Warren (D-MA) and Rep. Doggett (D-TX) led more than 30 colleagues to investigate Latin American countries experiencing an explosion in costly ISDS attacks. A letter was sent to the government requesting the abolition of ISDS.

“We must eliminate the ability of companies to sue for billions of dollars when their profit margins are threatened by climate change or public policy.” said Iliana Paul, senior policy advisor for the Sierra Club. “Investor-state dispute resolution schemes create a system of total corporate power, and removing this mechanism from existing trade and investment agreements is key to protecting people and the planet. President Biden’s positions on trade issues are encouraging, and we hope that his administration will keep ISDS top of mind as it reconsiders global trade agreements.”

Background: ISDS provisions embedded in numerous trade and investment agreements provide multinational companies with special rights not available to domestic companies. If a company claims that a government action violates its special rights, ISDS provides companies with the ability to sue governments for compensation outside of each country’s domestic legal and court systems. . An unaccountable three-person tribunal decides the fate of each case, and claims often reach millions or billions of dollars.

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