Politico | 9 August 2017
Business groups to the administration: Keep ISDS in NAFTA
More than 100 U.S. business groups and associations representing more than 1 million domestic companies are pushing the Trump administration to not only preserve investor-state dispute settlement and related provisions in an updated NAFTA agreement but to also strengthen them to further protect intellectual property and interests.
"We urge that investment and ISDS remain high priorities in the NAFTA modernization to strengthen enforcement and ensure the fair treatment for U.S. individual, nonprofit and business investors," the groups, led by the National Association of Manufacturers, wrote in a letter to U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, Ross and three other administration officials on Tuesday.
The ISDS provision in NAFTA, which creates a forum for companies to challenge government laws or regulation that they believe unfairly damage the value of their business investments, has long been controversial.
It was not directly addressed in the negotiating objectives the administration released last month, but the groups behind the letter — which also included the Business Roundtable, the National Foreign Trade Council, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and chambers from several states — argued the provision is crucial to having enforceable investment protections and more robust market access.
"The Trump administration’s focus on ensuring fair treatment by foreign governments is a critical part of a robust U.S. trade agenda, and maintaining and improving ISDS enforcement and the protection of U.S. property overseas is a critical tool in the toolbox," Linda Dempsey, vice president of international economic affairs at NAM, wrote in a blog post published alongside the letter. "Businesses across the United States agree."