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(Some TPP Guy)   Old and busted: Corporations operating under domestic laws. New hotness: Corporations operating under their own laws using their own tribunal system not tied to any country   (citizen.typepad.com) divider line 60
    More: Scary, municipal law, U.S., U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk, foreign corporation, Public Citizen, Office of the United States Trade Representative, Trans-Pacific Partnership, treaty  
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4306 clicks; posted to Business » on 14 Jun 2012 at 11:03 AM (2 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-06-14 07:24:43 PM  

farkin_Gary: Whar them unions screaming, WHAR!?!


Unions bad, mkay? Unions unAmerican, mkay? Unions been stripped of their powers, mkay? Now shut up and vote Republican, you farking peasant.
 
2012-06-14 10:53:58 PM  

Heraclitus: If I claim Somali citizenship, Can I pay their tax rate?


If you claim their tax rate can we ship your ass there? ;^)

/25 months in that hell-hole, courtesy of Uncle Sugar
 
2012-06-15 01:47:29 AM  
Mr. Lee's Greater Honk Kong, here I come.
 
2012-06-15 03:03:08 AM  
Time to get my skullgun upgraded.
 
2012-06-15 04:09:26 AM  

Calmamity: Those bullet points are fu*king terrifying.


Reading the document I don't see where they get them. I could be missing something -- I just skimmed the document and I'm still working on my Internet GED in law -- but I didn't see anything like what those bullet points claim.

My best guess is that they are misunderstanding (accidentally or otherwise) phrases like:
"the tribunal shall apply ... the law of the respondent"
which, out of context, might sound scary. But what it actually means is that if you're sued you get to apply domestic law from your country, rather than the country where the plaintiff resides.

This sort of jurisdiction-specification necessary in any international/interstate/inter-jurisdictional contract and is boilerplate for most agreements. For example, your home loan and your cable contract probably both say something like: "This agreement shall be governed by the laws of the State of Iowa" and the above phrase from the treaty has exactly the same intent.
 
2012-06-15 04:19:04 AM  

profplump: Reading the document I don't see where they get them. I could be missing something -- I just skimmed the document and I'm still working on my Internet GED in law -- but I didn't see anything like what those bullet points claim.


To be fair I should say this treaty does ask for a "two-tier legal system", but the first tier is only for parties that agree by contract to be bound by it and is limited to arbitration with respect to that contract -- it's exactly the same rights you signed away with your cell phone contract.

The treaty does not have any relevance for criminal prosecutions in the US or other countries, and even specifically excludes health and safety actions that might technically be civil actions even when prosecuted by the government.

The purpose of this arbitration is to ensure that when a foreign firm invests in a country -- let's say you pump a bunch of money into India to build a new magic bean farm -- under this treaty the domestic government (i.e. India) can't just write a new law that says "too bad, we own your plant now". If such contracts were subject only to domestic law there would be no way to write an enforceable contract to protect foreign investors; this treaty is intended to create such a legal framework. You may or may not think that's a good idea, but it's the explicit intent of the treaty, not some hidden legal backdoor.
 
2012-06-15 10:02:45 AM  
Gee, this sounds like some other law that we're all terrified of. What was it again...Cherry...Sherry...?
 
2012-06-15 11:33:30 AM  

profplump: The purpose of this arbitration is to ensure that when a foreign firm invests in a country -- let's say you pump a bunch of money into India to build a new magic bean farm -- under this treaty the domestic government (i.e. India) can't just write a new law that says "too bad, we own your plant now". If such contracts were subject only to domestic law there would be no way to write an enforceable contract to protect foreign investors; this treaty is intended to create such a legal framework. You may or may not think that's a good idea, but it's the explicit intent of the treaty, not some hidden legal backdoor.


Ah, sounds so fair and simple when you say it like that.

In practice though, it don't work that way.

This stuff may have been "secret" in the US, but it's been in the papers for a while here in Oz. The Aussie government wants to enforce plain packaging for cigarettes. This is totally legal under Aussie law.

However, Philip Morris (Asia) is currently suing Australia under an ISDA clause in a Aus/Hong Kong bilateral agreement from 1990. (Oz will probably win, but legal fees + arbitration fees + witness fees + admin fees will cost millions.) Phillip Morris is also suing Uruguay for a similar thing, using a Swiss subsidiary and another ancient free-trade agreement. And guess who's been pushing for ISDAs in the TPP?

It's a good example of the risks with ISDAs, because it really drives home the fact that you're signing on to a document that may still be enforced decades later when social mores have changed. Local laws/regulations change slower than social mores ... obscure passages in old free trade agreements are even harder to change. And the finished TPPA will probably be 500+ pages. Do you really want to bet that there's nothing in there that a company might try to use against you in 20 years?
 
2012-06-15 03:22:02 PM  

LiquidSky: Ah, sounds so fair and simple when you say it like that.

In practice though, it don't work that way.


You may or may not think such treaties are a good idea, for any number of perfectly valid reasons.

All I'm saying is the article is misrepresenting the facts of the treaty.
 
2012-06-16 12:48:26 PM  
Subby, et al: In Obama's first trip to Asia in November 2009, he reaffirmed the United States' commitment to the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
 
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