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[DFRI-listan] Fwd: [US-EU-TTIP] EU and US negotiators determined to transfer sovereignty to companies

Här har Ante mer vatten på temat "Riksdagens avskaffande" (se nedan)

Vi vet att det tog 8 månader att få ut ett (1/one/ein/uno/yksi) ACTA-dokument. Är det mödan värt att försöka få titta på TTIP?

Vad gäller DFRIs intresseområde, här en grov uppskattning av vad USA vill ha in: http://infojustice.org/archives/31243 (skrolla ner till Draconian Enforcement in the Digital Environment).


-------- Original Message --------
Subject: [US-EU-TTIP] EU and US negotiators determined to transfer sovereignty to companies
Date: Sun, 17 Nov 2013 16:15:56 +0100

Negotiators determined to transfer sovereignty to companies

November 17, 2013
By Ante

During a stakeholders meeting on the TTIP / TAFTA trade
agreement, EU and US negotiators showed determination to
transfer sovereignty to companies.

On Friday 15 November, the last day of the second TTIP
negotiating round, the EU commission organised a stakeholders
meeting. Chief negotiators Dan Mullaney (US) and Ignacio Garcia
Bercero (EU) gave a short talk and answered questions.

In the stakeholders meeting many topics were discussed, from
investor – state dispute settlement, the right to water, the
precautionary principle, to consumer safeguards. Here is a (low
quality) audio recording, it starts half a minute into the


There were many questions about investor – state dispute
settlement (ISDS). Under ISDS companies can sue states if new
laws threaten to make expected profits lower. The cases are
handled outside national court systems, by tribunals consisting
of three investment lawyers. Civil society groups see ISDS as a
threat to democracy.

ISDS transfers sovereignty in two ways. It gives companies equal
standing to states. And it gives investment lawyers the power to
decide in conflicts between companies and states.

Why on earth would one want to transfer sovereignty to companies
and investment lawyers?

According to Mr. Garcia Bercero a well designed ISDS system can
preserve the right to regulate:

"I first want to say, very clear, very firmly, that we certainly
do not believe that a well designed investor to state dispute
settlement system could compromise the right to regulate.

One of the fundamental issues we want to look at very carefully
if we decide on any potential investment protection rules in a
treaty, as we indeed did in the agreement with Canada, is to
make sure that parties have the right to make policies in the
public interest." (at 48.20)

Mr. Garcia Bercero turns the question around. He takes
transferring sovereignty for granted, and then wants to
safeguard space for states to regulate. States become the
begging parties. That is the world upside down.

Furthermore, the commission’s reassurances do not convince. Mr.
Garcia Bercero states the commission got it right in the ISDS
chapter in the agreement with Canada. However, already months
ago Nathalie Bernasconi-Osterwalder showed serious flaws in the
(leaked) draft. Moreover, arguments in favour of ISDS on the
commission’s Q&A webpage were scrutinized by Corporate Europe
Observatory, after which the commission withdrew the statements.
A second commission attempt was strongly critisised by Glyn
Moody. The commission’s beliefs are firm, but it comes empty

Mr. Mullaney talked about a fair, quick and transparent ISDS
system that safeguards regulatory space. Nothing would prevent
non-discriminatory legitimate policy objectives.

He too takes transferring sovereignty for granted, and then
wants to safeguard limited space for states to regulate. The
policy objectives have to be non-discriminatory and legitimate.
What is non-discriminatory and legitimate? The investment
lawyers will decide on that.

Then someone asked the essential question: why is ISDS needed at
all? Both negotiators mentioned protection against

Mr. Mullaney:

"I think it is fair to say that measures in the United States
that specifically discriminate against EU [parts?] or EU
companies and measures in Europe that discriminate against US
property or companies, that would in fact be something you want
to avoid in the agreement." (at 1.41.26)

The answer doesn’t clarify why ISDS would be needed, as both the
EU and US have good courts, and state – state dispute settlement
can solve remaining issues.

In related news, last week Nobel laureate in economics Joseph
Stiglitz wrote an opinion on ISDS. He makes it clear that the
instrument is unnecessary:

"There is no reason that foreign-owned property should be better
protected than property owned by a country’s own citizens.
Moreover, if constitutional guarantees are not enough to
convince investors (…) foreigners can always avail themselves of
expropriation insurance provided by the Multilateral Investment
Guarantee Agency (a division of the World Bank) or numerous
national organizations providing such insurance."

He also explains what is really behind ISDS:

"But those supporting the investment agreements are not really
concerned about protecting property rights, anyway. The real
goal is to restrict governments’ ability to regulate and tax
corporations – that is, to restrict their ability to impose
responsibilities, not just uphold rights. Corporations are
attempting to achieve by stealth – through secretly negotiated
trade agreements – what they could not attain in an open
political process."

A union without clothes

In my opinion, the EU is in dire straights. The EU gave us a
euro with design flaws, it may soon transfer sovereignty to
companies and investment lawyers. The political elite fails. It
is time for a wake up call.