100 US small businesses reject ISDS in NAFTA renegotiation

July 14, 2017: more than 100 small business leaders sent a letter to President Donald J. Trump urging the President to ensure that the re-negotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and other global trade pacts does not allow foreign multinational corporations to attack US laws that protect US communities and the environment.

The letter opposes Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) – a provision in NAFTA and other trade deals that enables multinational corporations to sue the US government over laws at the local, state, and federal levels that they claim violate their broad “investor” rights under NAFTA. These laws, which US small businesses must abide by, are intended to protect the health, environmental, and financial well-being of the nation.

Jerry Greenfield, co-founder of Ben and Jerry’s ice Cream stated: “It is unacceptable that agreements like NAFTA provide vast powers for corporations to sue governments before tribunals of three corporate lawyers. Those corporate lawyers can award unlimited sums to be paid by taxpayers, including for the loss of expected future profits, simply when corporations claim a health or environmental law violates special privileges granted by these agreements.”

The business leaders’ letter and signatories are at: http://greenam.org/trade-letter.

On May 18, Trump notified Congress of his Administration’s plans to renegotiate NAFTA, setting in motion a 90-day period before negotiations with Canada and Mexico can begin on August 18. According to trade legislation, the Trump Administration must make public its more detailed plans for the negotiations next week, 30 days before negotiations begin.