IAM, Labor, Civil Society Groups Urge Biden Administration to Eliminate Corporate Power Grab ISDS in Existing U.S. Trade Agreements

The IAM and more than 200 organizations and labor groups sent a letter to the Biden administration urging the elimination of the Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) in existing free trade agreements and bilateral investment treaties.

The letter highlights the need to address the ongoing liability of ISDS in existing trade agreements. ISDS empowers multinational corporations to sue governments before panels of corporate lawyers, which threatens public interest policies.

Under the ISDS mechanism, corporations can seek compensation from taxpayers for the loss of expected future profits due to a challenged government policy. The lawyers acting on behalf of these corporations can award unlimited sums to be paid by taxpayers if they are convinced that a safety regulation, court ruling, law, or any other government action violates the investors’ rights granted by an agreement enforced by ISDS.

“When trade and investment agreements include ISDS, it is clear that they are not designed to benefit working people, but to give special rights to consolidate, formalize and expand corporate power,” said IAM International President Robert Martinez Jr. “The IAM urges the Biden administration to eliminate these rigged and anti-democratic trade rules prioritizing corporate rights over national sovereignty and working people.”

As a strong supporter of workers’ rights, the IAM has consistently advocated for fair U.S. trade policies that prioritize the well-being of workers, including fighting to reduce ISDS liability in the renegotiated U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).

It is crucial for trade policies to prioritize and uphold fundamental human rights rather than creating incentives for multinational corporations to undermine labor, health, environmental, and other essential public policies. 

Read the full letter here.

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