Xander Fulton
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Yey, capitalism??

Take 'climate change' out of the picture, entirely - we are talking about pure pollution, here. Or, more specifically, pretty much ANYTHING a country could do that MIGHT impact a corporation's profits.

Like, say, I dunno, require their products not kill people...oops, that sounds pretty close to something that might impact their profits. LAWSUIT! Annnnnnd...secret settlement.
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Josh
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That.. has to be one of the dumbest thing I've ever heard. If you don't like the market, you don't compete in it. You don't open a business in a market then sue the market for being there to open the business in. If the market changes you choose to sell out or remain, you don't sue the market for changing. This is bizarre. Any bigshot MBAs that can explain any logic behind this?
 
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Scott Seifert
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In which the violation of property rights is confused with capitalism once again.

There is already a law against selling products that kill people or, in other words, against murder. Similar with fraud, theft, and property damage (pollution). If you are correct and corporate sovereignty allows businesses to get away with such acts (and the government then prevents citizens from taking the law into their own hands), then that's just another instance of cronyism.

Edit: As to the bizarreness of suing a government when you could have just left the market instead, that's only strange if you believe government regulations to be fair and infallible. Clearly if the mafia or some other private organization were enforcing those rules you would be glad to see them sued.
 
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Jasper
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It is the secret arbitration without appeal part that is bizarre, not that companies might have a legitimate gripe when a nation makes 180 degree policy swings.
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Ken
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Venga2 wrote:
It is the secret arbitration without appeal part that is bizarre, not that companies might have a legitimate gripe when a nation makes 180 degree policy swings.


Why should a US-based corporation be permitted to sue the sovereign government of another country for having the temerity to pass laws? Sure some of them might impact business interest - even many of them. But it sure smacks of profits before people because any number of environmental or consumer protection laws/regulations could trigger such action.

Further - just wait for a European company to file suit against the US government using those provisions of the treaty. There will be apoplexy that this is permitted.

There's lots of material around on the subject, which is far better than the link in the OP in terms of detail. I find the notion that a British bank could sue the US government for adding financial regulations to provide stronger oversight of the financial sector completely bizarre. If the US government formed some type of contract to entice the bank to do business here and reneged, that's one thing (sometimes, you see this with municipalities and tax deals to attract retailers). But this? No - if you want to do business internationally, you can abide by the laws of the nations you do business in and cope.
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Walker
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Yeah, I'm not against a protect against government abuses against corporations in principle- which seems the most charitable way of framing this- but I don't think this is the right way to do it.
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Jasper
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perfalbion wrote:
Venga2 wrote:
It is the secret arbitration without appeal part that is bizarre, not that companies might have a legitimate gripe when a nation makes 180 degree policy swings.


Why should a US-based corporation be permitted to sue the sovereign government of another country for having the temerity to pass laws? Sure some of them might impact business interest - even many of them. But it sure smacks of profits before people because any number of environmental or consumer protection laws/regulations could trigger such action.

Further - just wait for a European company to file suit against the US government using those provisions of the treaty. There will be apoplexy that this is permitted.

There's lots of material around on the subject, which is far better than the link in the OP in terms of detail. I find the notion that a British bank could sue the US government for adding financial regulations to provide stronger oversight of the financial sector completely bizarre. If the US government formed some type of contract to entice the bank to do business here and reneged, that's one thing (sometimes, you see this with municipalities and tax deals to attract retailers). But this? No - if you want to do business internationally, you can abide by the laws of the nations you do business in and cope.
As I understand it, the purpose of the clause is to protect foreign investment by providing a course of action for companies for reclaiming investments when a government is in breach of contract, It is certainly possible for governments to be in breach of contract. Recently Argentina nationalized assets of a Spanish company, for example. I don't find it unreasonable that some venue for arbitration exists. However, the secret and binding nature of the current arrangement is ripe for abuse, and is, in fact, abused.

I can see no reasonable excuse for keeping the procedures secret, and apart from established legal procedures including the possibility of appeal.

With a more 'normal' procedure for arbitration, I do not think we would see many claims honored where they concern some tightening of safety guidelines, or other revision of laws which is perfectly reasonable.
 
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Ken
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Venga2 wrote:
As I understand it...


You misunderstand, if the sources I'm reading are correct.

The language allows a corporation to sue because legal or regulatory action significantly alters the business climate in the nation that they are suing. No contract needs to be in place.

Quote:
Recently Argentina nationalized assets of a Spanish company, for example.


This is a different issue, isn't it? Seizing assets without due process or just compensation is different than permitting a corporation to sue because emissions laws are tightened or food standards improved.

The secrecy provisions you point to are also troubling, but I don't think you have the basic language right.
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Jasper
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perfalbion wrote:
This is a different issue, isn't it? Seizing assets without due process or just compensation is different than permitting a corporation to sue because emissions laws are tightened or food standards improved.
Obviously that is a different issue, and you rightfully point out that the scope for arbitration is much wider than I thought. My emphasis on the secrecy is because I heard an expert explain that some settlements have been reached which would trigger dismayed reactions if they were public. Hence the assumption that if the secrecy (and no appeal) parts of the clause are lifted, that would prevent some abuse. No government looks good giving what will be perceived as handouts to foreign companies.

But is seems that the entire scope for arbitration is to large, as you say.
 
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Born To Lose, Live To Win
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Venga2 wrote:
No government looks good giving what will be perceived as handouts to foreign companies.


Yet the Netherlands seems to have gotten away with it for years.devil

Where is our settlement! I want my lost tax revenue you pirates!
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Jasper
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tax breaks are definitely different PR wise then actual damage payouts as a consequence of secretive arbitration.

Btw, I am going to spend some of your hard earned tax money on games.
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