US corporates demand even stronger ISDS rights in new NAFTA

August 15, 2017: The formal renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement begins on August 16-20, 2017, in Washington DC. The US NAFTA objectives were published on July 17, 2017.

In an Open Letter to US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer over 100 US trade associations urged stronger Investor-State Dispute Settlement as part of the "NAFTA modernisation", such as ensuring intellectual property is defined as a "protected investment" and guaranteeing that all sectors are afforded the same protections and access to ISDS. This is code for ensuring that governments can be sued if they regulate to make medicines more affordable and regulate tobacco advertising for public health reasons.

It further suggests extending the enforcement period of ISDS provisions to at least 10 years after any potential termination of NAFTA, to "ensure that American investment is appropriately and fully protected."

The US has only faced 18 ISDS cases under NAFTA and has won every single one of them, the corporations say, while US investors have used ISDS provisions in 40 cases with Canada and Mexico, winning several.