New trade warning: International ‘tribunal’ could junk U.S. laws to help foreign firms

An Asian trade deal being negotiated in secret by the administration would let an international tribunal overrule state and federal laws to help foreign firms, a new issue congressional and legal opponents are raising in hopes of slowing the race for passage.
It is really worrisome, said top House Ways and Means Committee Democrat Rep. Sandy Levin. Countries do not want to give away their jurisdiction away to some arbitrary panel, he added.
At issue is the pending Trans-Pacific Partnership treaty and a provision called Investor-State Dispute Settlement, or ISDS, that would let foreign firms challenge U.S. laws, potentially overruling those laws and resulting in fines to be paid by taxpayers. The provisions are becoming common in some trade deals between other nations.

Rep. Sander Levin. Michael Bonfigli/The Christian Science Monitor

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