The TPP can be an important step in promoting trade and economic development. Unfortunately negotiators have traded away fairness and access to justice for all investors and instead embraced discrimination against a single sector.
The agreement creates a system of fair and equal treatment and then hangs a “Do Not Enter” sign directed to millions of people: responsible farmers, retailers, manufacturers, and suppliers who work and trade in tobacco. For the first time, negotiators have severely degraded the fundamentals of law that have rightly been at the core of trade agreements.
There have been over 600 reported investor-state disputes across many industries – energy, pharmaceuticals, insurance, and so on. Of those, PMI has brought only two cases, each to request a neutral panel to examine what we consider blatant and unjustified breaches of international laws that protect investors. The cases are still pending, and neither can justify singling out PMI or tobacco for exclusion from the TPP’s investment rules.
If the process moves ahead to approval and finalization by the parties in the months ahead, the biggest loser will be a diminished rule of law, tarnished by the politics of trade negotiators.
All investors and sectors should now be on guard, because selective justice and discrimination respect no boundaries.