Foreign investor protections in the Trans-Pacific Partnership

by Gus Van Harten
Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives

This study examines the special privileges, enforced through investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS), which would be given to foreign investors under the TPP. These include the right to compensation where government laws, regulations, or other decisions are found to interfere with an investor’s interests. It shows that those financially benefitting from such rights in past agreements have mostly been very large companies or wealthy individuals. The author also explains how the TPP expands ISDS rules to cover “investment agreements” between the federal government and foreign investors, and how it weakens protections for financial regulation. The study concludes that expanding and enshrining such investor privileges carries major risks for voters and taxpayers in all TPP countries, with no compelling evidence of a corresponding benefit for the public.