Dispute Resolution & Trade Tribunals
Today's "trade agreements" are more accurately understood as strongly enforced systems of international governance – through which countries' governments are required to conform their existing and future domestic environmental, food safety, zoning, procurement, health and other policies to constraints set in the pacts. Countries that fail to limit such policies – or to insert into their domestic law rights and privileges required by the pacts for foreign investors – may be attacked in international tribunals. These tribunals are empowered to impose trade sanctions until laws are changed – and in some agreements corporations can privately enforce the rules and demand payments from governments. The two systems of enforcement are technically called "government to government" and "investor-state dispute settlement."