NAFTA re-negotiation should exclude ISDS

Last July, over 100 small business leaders sent a letter to President Donald J. Trump urging the President to ensure that the re-negotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and other global trade pacts does not allow foreign multinational corporations to attack U.S. laws that protect U.S. communities and the environment.

Right now, foreign owned companies are allowed to challenge such laws before tribunals of three private lawyers, which is bad for our communities and the environment and also puts U.S.-based small firms --that comply with our laws and use our courts --at a competitive disadvantage.

Several rounds of negotiations took place in 2017. The Sixth Round of Negotiations will take place from January 23-28, 2018, in Montreal, Canada. Small business leaders are weighing-in at this crucial time on the need to ensure that multinational corporations are no longer given more favorable treatment than U.S. small business and special rights to attack our laws. The business leaders’ letter and signatories are at:

Of particular concern to small business is Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) – a provision that in NAFTA and other trade deals that enables multinational corporations to sue the U.S. government over laws at the local, state, and federal levels that they claim violate their broad “investor” rights under NAFTA. These laws, which US small businesses must abide by, are intended to protect the health, environmental, and financial well-being of our nation.

As the business leaders’ letter to the President notes, in addition to threatening U.S. laws, the special treatment for foreign investors that the ISDS system allows also incentivizes the off-shoring of jobs by removing many of the costs and risks associated with re-locating to low-wage countries.

A local op-ed would be a great way to amplify the reach of the letter, which has been extremely helpful in showing that small businesses do not stand to benefit from maintaining the ISDS system – which allows large multinational corporations to challenge U.S. laws and regulations they find inconvenient and receive unlimited compensation from taxpayers.

Read the ASBC’s letter.

Stand with OSBC and urge the removal of Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) in the NAFTA re negotiations.

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