YLNM members Common Frontiers have created a new short video (available in French and English) that provide a basic overview of the global Free Trade Agenda.
The videos draw attention to mining company Oceana Gold’s attempt to sue the government of El Salvador for rejecting gold mining under an Investor State Dispute Settlement FTA (Free Trade Agreement) clause, and a similar dispute between fracking companies and Quebec, Canada. These cases demonstrate how FTAs open the door for mega development and protect corporate profits at the expense of community rights.
Trade and investment agreements increase corporate power, erode state sovereignty, weaken democratic authority and are central to the neoliberal framework of privatization and deregulation. They do this by restricting government ability to regulate in the public interest, limiting progressive governance and public services, while at the same time protecting and privileging the interest of multinational corporations. This includes in many areas not directly related to trade like food production, access to medicines, health care, the internet, environment and labour regulations.
Most trade deals include investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS), a provision that gives multinational corporations the ability to sue governments over regulations they feel are affecting their investment, including “expected future profits”. They limit the ability of governments to expand public services by locking in privatization. It affords foreign corporations the right to sue for compensate when public services are expanded or when privatization is reversed.