Fast Track’s TPP Trojan Horse: the Facade of Free Trade Hiding Protectionism for Multinational Corporations

Hugh J. Campbell Son of a steelworker, Philadelphia, Pa.

Advocates use the concept of free trade like it’s a silver bullet that solves the world’s growth challenges to justify Fast Tracking the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) free trade agreement. But hidden behind the façade of free trade the crony capitalists are fostering protectionism for multinational corporations in the form of the investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) process.

In Fast Track to the Corporate Wish List The American Prospect points out that one of TTP’s most contested provisions, enables corporations to use the investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) process and appeal to extra-judicial tribunals that bypass courts and usual forms of due process to seek monetary damages equaling “expected future profits.”

TPP even removes the “essential security” exemption, so foreign investors can file ISDS challenges on what governments claim to be national security decisions. This effectively creates an insurance policy for large firms to move operations, robbing the United States of its one competitive advantage over low-wage countries: a well-developed rule of law.

But while the enforcement measures that serve corporate goals, such as ISDS, have real teeth, the ones on labor and the environment are weak or nonexistent. While corporations can directly appeal trade issues, labor groups must ask their governments to enforce the standards.


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Hugh Campbell is a seasoned financial professional, currently providing subject matter expertise on a variety of regulatory topics, including the Dodd-Frank Act, the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) and overall compliance monitoring. Hugh has previously held positions as Chief Risk Officer (CRO), Chief Audit Executive (CAE) and Director of Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) Compliance.