19 October 2016

This is a Very Good Point

The ISDS for the TPP explicitly excludes tobacco from the ISDS.

This raises an interesting point: Why is this OK, but mining companies who poison the surrounding people, or Chiquita spraying its workers with toxic pesticides deserves protection.

Now, people are beginning to notice the moral inconsistency:
One of the last pieces of horse-trading that went on in order to conclude the TPP deal involved corporate sovereignty, aka investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS), and tobacco. As we reported a year ago, a "carve-out" for tobacco was agreed, which was designed to assuage fears that tobacco companies would use TPP's ISDS mechanism to challenge health measures like plain packs -- something that Philip Morris attempted against both Australia and Uruguay. Now, it looks like the idea is spreading, as Simon Lester points out on the International Economic Law and Policy Blog: 


More generally, the appearance of this carve-out for tobacco raises a question Mike asked a year ago: if corporate sovereignty is such a bad idea for this industry, why not for others that can cause harm -- like the extractive industries, for example? And once people start asking these kinds of questions, it's not long before they realize that putting companies above national laws, and letting them sue governments in supranational tribunals, makes no sense at all for any sector. Calls to drop the entire ISDS system have been growing for a while; the latest move by Australia and Singapore is likely to make them louder.
True dat.


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