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TPP provision on dispute resolution should be open to civil society & victims of corporate abuses, says academic

“How to Make the Trans-Pacific Partnership Work for Workers and Communities”, 14 Jan 2016

…A key focus of TPP debate is the controversial investor-state dispute-settlement chapter...ISDS allows foreign corporations to sue governments for what firms see as unfair treatment…[T]he ISDS chapter leaves governments vulnerable to costly legal battles when foreign investors say they suffered losses because of government actions…Instead of going to court, ISDS lets investors force sovereign governments into a private arbitration system…[T]rade agreements don’t let victims hold investors accountable for wrongdoing.  Instead, they must turn to their governments to take up claims of human rights…But their government can only target violations by another government, not corporate misconduct…Critics conclude that ISDS is fatally flawed…But what open[ing] up investor-state-style mechanisms for workers, unions, consumers, and communities to sue companies for abusive behavior.  Call it community-investor dispute resolution, or CIDS…The TPP’s investor-state chapter does have new language opening up the arbitration process to public disclosure and public participation…But that’s not enough…Letting workers and communities bring claims against investors under social chapters of trade agreements is even more important in light of recent US Supreme Court decisions blocking other avenues of redress...Allowing victimized workers and communities to use dispute-settlement mechanisms in trade agreements provides some measure of re-balance in the wake of Kiobel

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