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Global Trade Watch Home  Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Page

The Trans-Pacific Partnership: Empowering Corporations to Attack Nations

Incentivizing Multinational Corporations to Attack Our Laws

The key provision in TPP grants new rights to thousands of multinational corporations to sue the U.S. government before a panel of three corporate lawyers. These lawyers can award the corporations unlimited sums to be paid by America's taxpayers, including for the loss of expected future profits. These corporations need only convince the lawyers that a U.S. law or safety regulation violates their TPP rights. Their decisions are not subject to appeal and the amount they can order taxpayers to give corporations has no limit.

And if that were not bad enough, many of the lawyers involved in this outrageous system rotate between judging these cases and representing corporations when they sue governments. This is an obvious conflict of interest that is forbidden under U.S. law where judges are forbidden from simultaneously represent private clients. And unlike judges, these corporate lawyers are paid by the hour - on average $375-$600 hourly - to act as "judges," providing a perverse incentive to keep cases going for years to earn huge sums even if they eventually dismiss the cases.

Under TPP, the American taxpayers could be forced to pay multinational corporations compensation for any American law, regulation or government decision or action that claim violates their new TPP rights. And, they can demand we pay them not just for their actual losses (what they spent on an investment) but also what they claim is their lost future expected profits if the law or government action had not occurred, and there is no limit to the amount they can win from U.S. taxpayers.

This system is a major way in which the TPP gives multinational corporations that come to the U.S. even more rights and privileges than the American people and our businesses. This system literally elevates individual multinational corporations to equal status with the U.S. government by allowing them to privately enforce a public treaty by suing our country in special corporate tribunals.

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