At the heart of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is a stunning corporate power grab: NAFTA grants rights to thousands of multinational corporations to bypass domestic courts and directly “sue” the U.S., Canadian and Mexican governments before a panel of three corporate lawyers. These lawyers can award the corporations unlimited sums to be paid by taxpayers, including for the loss of expected future profits. These corporations need only convince the lawyers that a domestic law, safety regulation or court ruling – that we rely on for a clean environment, essential services and healthy communities – violates the new rights and privileges NAFTA grants to them. The corporate lawyers’ decisions are not subject to outside appeal.
How could multinational corporations attack domestic health, environmental and financial protections on which we all rely and that local companies have to follow?