RATHER than promote trade, the TPP prioritized transnational corporation (TNC)-friendly rules. The CPTPP did not even eliminate the most onerous TPP provisions demanded by US TNCs, but only suspended some, e.g., on intellectual property (IP). Suspension was favoured to induce a future US regime to re-join.
Onerous TPP provisions – e.g., for investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) – remain. This extrajudicial system supersedes national laws and judiciaries, with secret rulings by private tribunals not bound by precedent or subject to appeal.
Lawyers have been advising TNCs on how to sue host governments for resorting to extraordinary COVID-19 measures since 2020. Most countries can rarely afford to incur huge legal costs fighting powerful TNCs, even if they win.
The Trump administration cited vulnerability to onerous ISDS provisions to justify US withdrawal from the TPP. Now, citizens of smaller, weaker and poorer nations are being told to believe ISDS does not pose any real threat to them!
After ratifying the CPTPP, TNCs can sue governments for supposed loss of profits due to policy changes – even if in the national or public interest, e.g., to contain COVID-19 contagion, or ensure food security.
Thus, supposed CPTPP gains mainly come from expected additional foreign direct investment (FDI) due to enhanced investor benefits – not more trade. This implies more host economy concessions, and hence, less net benefits for them.
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