Extract from “The TPPA: Trading human rights?”

Only about 5 or 6 out of 30 chapters in the TPPA actually deal with issues traditionally perceived as trade issues such as the lowering of tariffs. The devil is in the details as they say, and a close look at Chapter 9 on investment and its enforcement mechanism, Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS), reveals this: it gives foreign investors in Malaysia a whole new mode of legal redress with extraordinary protection to their investments and profits to the detriment of our development policies.

Claims brought under similar worded ISDS clauses in other free trade agreements include:

American company Renco’s suit against Peru for US$800 million (RM3.4 billion) because its contract was not extended after Renco’s operations caused massive environmental and health damage;

A French company, Veolia, sued Egypt for the disadvantage it suffered from the rise of the minimum wage from 400 to 700 Egyptian pounds (US$56 to US$99). Minimum wage was one of the few concessions won by salaried workers in the 2011 Arab Spring.

Eli Lilly, the fifth-largest pharmaceutical group in the US, is demanding roughly US$490 million in compensation because the Canadian courts upheld Canada’s patent laws and had found in favour of a generics manufacturer, making medicines cheaper and more accessible to Canadians.

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