Leaked Trans Pacific Partnership Documents Create a Stir on the Left and the Right

By Sam Willie

The Washington Post has hosted a conversation with an expert on investor treaties to explain the significance of leaked documents concerning the investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) system in the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) free trade agreement. The TPP, which has the potential to be the largest free trade agreement in history, has come under severe criticism from both the left and right since Wikileaks released the documents. At the center of the controversy are two features of the ISDS system. First, the ISDS system would empower multinational corporations to sue countries in which they are invested in for violations of their property rights . Second, the ISDS system would allow companies and investors to challenge rules, regulations and court rulings of countries in which they are invested in before World Bank and United Nations tribunals. This would be the first time companies, rather than their host nations, have standing in multi-national trade agreements. With the left and right united in their disdain for the ISDS it will be interesting to see how the Obama administration will proceed with TPP negotiations.