Opponents of TPP, Senator Elizabeth Warren for example, are concerned that I.S.D.S provisions in TPP and other trade agreements might supersede our laws. Surowiecki writes:
Known as Investor-State Dispute Settlement (or I.S.D.S.) provisions, they typically allow foreign investors to sue governments when they feel they have not received “fair or equitable treatment,” and to have their cases heard not by a domestic court but by an international arbitration tribunal made up of three lawyers.
Proponents of trade agreements claim that suits are rare, governments usually win, and the only penalties are financial–laws aren’t overturned. Surowiecki notes that even if such suits have been rare in the past, they may become much more common in the future.
Surowiecki has a solution; he writes:
And including them (I.S.D.S provisions) in trade agreements undermines the broader case for free trade, by making it look like exactly what people fear—a system designed to put corporate interests above public ones. If the Administration wants these deals to be seen as legitimate, it can start by excising the I.S.D.S. provisions.
Yet a trade agreement without means for enforcement would be of little value in furthering fair play. Removing the controversial provisions seems like a reasonable proposal, but only if they were replaced with other effective provisions for resolving disputes.