1. North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)
The Council of Canadians is calling for the removal of Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) provisions in NAFTA. NAFTA’s Chapter 11 grants private investors from one country the right to sue the government of another country if it introduces new laws, regulations or practices – be they environmental, health or human rights – that might cause corporations to lose their anticipated profits.
To the best of our knowledge financial services are not being negotiated in NAFTA, and financial institutions will not have access to ISDS claims under NAFTA, but the special ISDS power of large corporations to challenge our government’s policies is of great concern.
Financial services ARE part of the TPP package that continue to be discussed by Canada and the remaining TPP countries (the United States has withdrawn). The TPP would make it possible for the finance industry to challenge laws that could prevent another financial crisis. The TPP would:
• Require TPP governments to allow new financial products and services to enter their economies if these services are permitted in other TPP countries
• Constrain governments’ ability to ban risky financial products – including those not yet invented!
• Empower financial institutions to launch ISDS claims against governments.
3. Trade in Services Agreement (TISA)
The draft of TISA’s Financial Services chapter sets out rules that would assist the expansion of financial multi-nationals into other nations by preventing regulatory barriers. The US has been particularly keen on boosting cross-border data flow, which would allow uninhibited exchange of personal and financial data.