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1 Sep 2016

Chris Hamby, BuzzFeed

A Homegrown Disaster

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…Designed to protect international companies when rogue governments seized their assets or flagrantly discriminated against them, this worldwide private justice system has morphed into a tool companies can use to force nations to fork over hundreds of millions or even billions of dollars for enforcing ordinary laws…[I]nvestor-state dispute settlement, or ISDS, has widened into a torrent of legal claims, many of them against countries that are poor…But ISDS has a towering champion, a backer with immense economic and diplomatic muscle: the United States of America. Indeed, President Barack Obama is asking Congress to usher in an enormous expansion of ISDS by ratifying a sprawling new trade deal, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP…But just this year, TransCanada filed a $15 billion ISDS claim against the US, arguing that the Obama administration’s rejection of the company’s controversial Keystone XL pipeline was unfair and discriminatory…and the denial actually was motivated by politics…The Nobel laureate economist Joseph Stiglitz…and other leading scholars last year urged members of Congress to keep ISDS out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Their stark warning: ISDS “risks undermining democratic norms because laws and regulations enacted by democratically-elected officials are put at risk.”…