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Businesses Take Action on Trade: Don’t Let Multinationals Attack Our Laws

The Trump administration is currently deciding what its trade agenda will look like. Unfortunately, it’s shaping up to be more big wins for multinational corporations at the expense of small businesses, working people, and our planet.

Trump’s draft plan for renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) includes controversial provisions that grant unjustifiable rights to multinational corporations. These provisions, called the Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS), incentivize offshoring of U.S. jobs and allow corporations to attack U.S. laws and protections for people and the planet.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren is a leading critic of the ISDS: “ISDS undermines the American judicial system and tilts the playing field further in favor of big multinational corporations … This provision empowers companies to challenge laws and regulations they don’t like, with friendly corporate lawyers instead of judges deciding their disputes.”

ISDS allows multinational corporations to bypass domestic courts and directly “sue” our government before an ad hoc panel of three private lawyers over our local, state, and even federal health, environmental, and financial protections. These lawyers can award the multinational corporations unlimited sums to be paid by taxpayers, including for the loss of anticipated future profits.

Green America’s Green Business Network and the American Sustainable Business Council have mobilized more than 100 businesses to sign a letter to President Trump.

Read the full letter:

Dear President Trump,

We, the undersigned small- and medium-sized business leaders from across the United States, contribute to our communities through job creation and dedication to building a sustainable, just economy. We write to express our deep concern about provisions in U.S. trade and investment agreements, such as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), that enable multinational corporations to bypass domestic courts and directly “sue” our government over our health, environmental and financial protections. 

These provisions, formally known as Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS), grant greater rights to foreign corporations than to domestic businesses such as ours, while exposing important local, state, and federal policies to challenge.

The ISDS allows a panel of three private lawyers to award multinational corporations unlimited sums to be paid by taxpayers, including for the loss of anticipated future profits. They need only convince the lawyers that a domestic law or safety regulation – that we rely on for a clean environment, essential services and healthy communities – violates the new rights and privileges granted to corporations under the trade deals.

Incredibly, more than $371 million in compensation has already been paid out to corporations in investor-state cases under NAFTA.

As business owners who are dedicated to creating jobs in our communities, we also oppose these special privileges for multinational corporations because they incentivize job offshoring. The special treatment for foreign investors that the ISDS system allows, eliminates many of the costs and risks that make firms think twice about moving to low-wage countries.

We are therefore alarmed that your administration has indicated that it might not eliminate the ISDS provisions from NAFTA when you renegotiate the agreement. We are concerned that the China Bilateral Investment Treaty and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, will also include ISDS provisions that threaten our health, safety, and economy.

We urge you to eliminate ISDS from past U.S. trade deals – beginning with the NAFTA renegotiation – and to withdraw from any and all negotiations that would expand ISDS, namely the China Bilateral Investment Treaty and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership.

Thank you for your consideration.

Business Name

Individual

A.K. A Coach and Company Annie Kirschenmann
American Sustainable Business Council Richard Eidlin
Amy Brown Associates Amy Brown
Atcheson Sculpture Chris Atcheson
Back Country Excursions Clifford Krolick
Barrett International Technology Incorporated Carolyn Barrett
BeanCounters Unlimited Rebecca Casstevens
Ben & Jerry’s Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield
Benjamin Visuals, LLC Barry Benjamin
Bespoken Corporate Communications Kim Heismann
BetterRide, Inc Gene Hamilton
Blue Ridge Produce Jim Epstein
Bright Planning LLC Catherine Campbell
Case Medical Marcia Frieze
Chosen Futures Deborah Frangquist
Citizen Bean Mal Stearns
Comeback Farm Mark Canright
Communitas Financial Planning Inc Jim Frazin
CONTEMPL8 T-SHIRTS LLC Christopher Loch
Continuum Industries, Inc Justin Sternberg
Convex Technologies Inc. Kevin O’Neill
Creative Creek, LLC Clay Thompson
CRW Inc. John Coleman
DC Energy Innovations, Inc. Ben Gordesky
Decent Exposures, Inc. Patricia Marcus
Dharma Merchant Services Jeffrey Marcous
Diagnostic Medical Imaging Sarah Haynes, Ph.D.
Distance Learning Consulting Louanne Klein
Earth Friendly Finance Emily Bowen
Ecoplum Business Gifts Gia Machlin
Eco-solutions Amy Hansen
Eighty2degrees LLC Mike Englert
Environmental & Public Health Consulting Ann Blake
Equal Exchange Rob Everts
Ever Better, PBC Pete Dignan
Fabricadabra Donna Halloran
Fattail Financial Advisory Group Helen Beichel`
Fiberactive Organics, L3C Julie Moore
Final Footprint Jane Hillhouse
Floral Soil LLC Mickey Blake
Flour Garden Bakery Inc Susan Copeland
Freedom Enterprizes Catherine Bailey
Gaia’s Basket Carol Lee Meinhold
Goherence Collaborative Ajax Greene
Green America’s Green Business Network Fran Teplitz
Green Heron Tools, LLC Elizabeth Brensinger
Green Rocket Digital Francis Battaglia
Ground Floor Partners Andrew Clarke
Hansen’s Advisory Services, Inc. Susan Hansen
HarborWest Design Sandra Zylberman
Harper & Hopkins, LLC Sam Hopkins
Herbaliz LLC Elizabeth McEwan
Historic Properties Dominik Eckenstein
HJKessler Associates Helen Kessler
Horizon Residential Energy Services NH LLC Kevin Hanlon
Humanity’s Team John Thomas
Ideal Energy Inc Troy Van Beek
Intermountain Manufacturing Jamie Yamashiro
Intex Solutions, Inc. David Rosenstein
Jax Photography Jacqueline Malonson
Julia L F Goldstein Communications Julia Goldstein
Just Works Consulting Jonathan Rosenthal
Kahl Consultants Alex Kahl
Krishi Technologies Pvt Ltd Shaik Amanulla
KW Botanicals Inc. Brian Weissbuch
Lazy Dog Designs Barbara Frances
Leadership & Strategy for Sustainable Systems Susan Harris
LineSync Architecture Julie Lineberger
Living Calmness Irwin Hoenig
Living Compassion Rebecca McIlwain
Living Furniture Paul Troyano
Manaaki Foundation Bill Gee
Marin Sunshine Realty Brenda Balanda
McColl Studio Inc William McColl
Motivity Partnerships Miriam Senft
Namu Baru Inc Chris Overholt
Octave Energy Inc. Doug Macbeth
Ossa Gaia Kristen Osborne Carroll
Owens Business & Cnsltg. Llc William Owens
Peaceful Pets Aquamation, Inc. Jerry Shevick
PeakChange Jim Davidson
Personal Beast Inc. Cynthia Wyatt
Poster It Nancy York
Psychotherapy Partners, LLC Elizabeth Vitale
PureCurrent Therapeutics Alexa Williamson
Quality Choices, Inc. Cynthia Becker
Redmond Construction Dan Redmond
Responsible Planning & Investing Stephen Siegel
REV Elliot Hoffman
RIC Julie Van Ness
RocknSocks MIsty Reilly
Silk Oak Jan Rhodes Norman
Solmate Socks Lisa Flood
The Garden Artist Karen Frickenhaus
The Sentient Bean Kristin Russell
Thrive Impact Sourcing Leslie Peterson
Transpower Paul Scott
Triple Ethos Richard Lawton
Turtle Tree Seed Lia Babitch
West TN Chapter PNHP Roger LaBonte
Wiltse Kitchen Susan Wiltse