TTIP: corporations to sue government in private, secret courts

Well worth watching this HoC Business, Innovation and Skills Committee hearing (which I can’t seem to embed in WordPress): http://www.parliamentlive.tv/Main/Player.aspx?meetingId=16584 :

“Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership TTIP Witnesses 1.  Frances O’Grady, General Secretary, TUC, and Sean McGuire, Brussels Director, CBI; 2.  David Babbs, Executive Director, 38 Degrees Visit the Committee’s homepage.

TTIP only masquerades as a “trade agreement”.  It is actually a corporate take-over of governments, facilitated by its hotly disputed ISDS facet.

 “ISDS grants a foreign investor the right to initiate dispute settlement proceedings against a foreign government. It is commonly included in free trade agreements, but opponents say it could leave local level policymakers vulnerable to libel proceedings from overseas investors, should local laws interfere with their ability to turn a profit.”

ISDS gives corporations the right to sue governments if they perceive that a government’s law reduces the profits of the corporations.  The corporations would have the right to sue the government in a private, secret court set up by the corporations where, even if the government won its case, it would end up paying the ‘legal’ costs.  This would have a chilling effect on governments pursuing policies agreed to by democratic consent at elections.

So via ISDS, corporations could dictate to governments, thereby instituting corporatocracy in what would be one giant customs union of the EU and the US.

This is the stuff of nightmares.

Update: At around10:58 into the hearing, Tory Caroline Dinenage starts badgering 38 Degrees’ David Babbs.  She asks how he dares to advise his members to urge the ditching of the TTIP agreement when he’s spoken to no experts and has not been privy to information around the agreement!

Never mind that the TTIP negotiations are secret.

Never mind that nobody yet knows the eventual terms of the agreement.

No, Dinenage thinks that Babbs is disqualified from campaigning because he is campaigning on behalf of the public. So, effectively, the Committee has called Babbs in to answer for campaigning democratically. This is very chilling from a free speech point of view, as it is not for MPs to hold the people to account.

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