Protesters in London demonstrate against one the largest trade

deals ever contemplated, TTIP, now being negotiated in Brussels.



TTIP: French Lawmakers Reject 'Non-State' Dispute Resolution (Temoignages, Reunion, France)


"The currently proposed mechanism is extremely dangerous. American companies could attack France because it has banned genetically modified organisms, or declared a moratorium on shale gas fracking, or banned BPA (Biphenyl A, a carbon-based synthetic compound used in a variety of common consumer goods)." – European Parliament Deputy Yannick Jadot


By Céline Tabou


Translated By Martyn Fogg


February 6, 2015


Réunion, France – Temoignages – Original Article (French)

Senators on February 3 adopted unanimously a draft resolution on the conflict resolution mechanism between the state and foreign investors foreseen by the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA).


The two transatlantic agreements, one with the United States and the other with Canada, provide for a legal mechanism for settling disputes between companies and states. Thus, companies that consider a decision taken by a state to be prejudicial to them may file a complaint against that state before a non-state tribunal.


A much contested provision


This provision is much-criticized by elected officials and community groups. According to the Stop TTIP/CETA Collective, "this arbitration authority would have the power to strike down legislation solely on the basis that it constitutes an infringement on free trade, but also to collect fines directly state treasuries."


The Collective states that the mechanism "constitutes an intolerable attack on the sovereignty of the people and democracy." Confronted with an arbitration mechanism presenting so many "inherent dangers," Senator Michel Billout (CRC Group- communist) and several of his colleagues, including Senator Paul Vergès, proposed a European resolution for the settlement of disputes between investors and states for the draft commercial agreements between the European Union, Canada and the United States.



The plan, adopted unanimously, proposes that the government contemplate, with the United States, an inter-state system for settling investor-state disputes under TTIP, which is now being negotiated, but also to guarantee the unlimited legal right of states to regulate.


The text also seeks to alter the arbitration process to ensure the full transparency of disputes, publication of actions taken, the independence and impartiality of arbitrators and the establishment of a mechanism of appeal before an independent tribunal.


Finally, senators invited the government to consider recourse to an inter-state dispute settlement mechanism with Canada regarding investments.


Michel Billoud, author of the resolution, explained on the Senate's public information site, that "in the event of health, social and environmental decisions, the state risks being sanctioned" which to him "seems relatively unsupportable." For Yannick Jadot, a European Parliament Green Party Deputy, this mechanism is "extremely dangerous."


Dangerous because if the agreement between the European Union and the United States comes into force, "American companies could attack France because it has banned genetically modified organisms, or declared a moratorium on shale gas fracking, or banned BPA (Biphenyl A, a carbon-based synthetic compound used in a variety of common consumer goods)," Jadot indicated.


For his part, Senator André Reichardt of the center-right UMP and Vice Chairman of the Senate European Affairs Committee asserted that "the risk is that this type of mediation is to the detriment of states and that they could be required to pay astronomical sums to foreign investors."




Polityka, Poland: 'Reject TTIP, Say No to GMOs': 50 Million Americans Warn Europe

Guardian,, Ecologist: GM Crop Firms Crack Open E.U.; Lawmakers to Probe TTIP

Opera Mundi: GMO's Benefit No One but Multinationals Like Monsanto

La Jornada, Mexico: Monsanto and DuPont-Pioneer Threaten Food Security in Mexico

Le Monde, France: U.S. Diplomats Force-Feed 'Frankenfoods' to Unwilling World

La Jornada, Mexico: WikiLeaks 'Spills Beans' on U.S. Push for 'Frankenfood'


For example, European companies have sued Egypt to prevent it from increasing the minimum wage and sued Peru for limit toxic emissions. Tobacco giant Philip Morris sued Australia and Uruguay before a special tribunal following anti-tobacco legislation judged too restrictive.


Improve such provisions or abolish them


Faced with such dangers, senators are divided between the total abolition of non-state arbitration or improving the provisions through guarantees of transparency, guaranteeing the impartiality of arbitrators and establishing an appeals tribunal. After all, the arbitration system will become "part of the legal framework of our country," explained Senator Michel Billout. Billout proposes "a form of state-to-state arbitration like that at the heart of the World Trade Organization," or a "return to national courts with an international appeal mechanism."


European Deputy Yannick Jadot wants "pure and simple" abolition of non-state arbitration. "In principle, one needn't improve a bad system," he declared, because "we have sufficiently developed judicial systems to deal with trade disputes." He denounced the existence of "private jurisdictions" to arbitrate such disputes.


For him it is a question of exceptional justice that "supersedes the public courts" and in which the regulation of conflicts of interest "is to the detriment of the public interest." The Green Party senator said that the current draft was "an unacceptable transfer of democratic sovereignty from the people to multinational companies." For his part, Secretary of State for Foreign Trade Matthias Fekl wants to reopen negotiations on the agreement between the E.U. and Canada which were last taken up in September, 2014.



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[Posted by Worldmeets.US February 6, 4:29pm]

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