State Legislators in All 50 States Want End to ISDS

More than 300 state legislators from across the United States have written to trade negotiators demanding the removal of Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) from the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

In a September 2018 letter to U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, legislators representing all fifty states wrote, “as you seek to conclude NAFTA renegotiations, we urge you to ensure that ISDS is removed to protect the sovereignty of states.”

Under NAFTA and similar trade agreements, ISDS empowers multinational corporations to attack environmental, consumer safety and other public policies and demand unlimited payouts of taxpayer funds before tribunals of three corporate lawyers.  This includes attacks not just on federal policies, but also on state and local laws, regulations, permitting and court decisions.

Beyond the state legislators who signed this letter, more than 1,000 civil society groups from the labor, environmental, family farm, civil rights, faith and consumer movements have also demanded an end to ISDS in any NAFTA replacement.  As have hundreds of thousands of individuals across the U.S.

“ISDS has no place in modern trade agreements,” said Arthur Stamoulis, executive director of Citizens Trade Campaign.  “ISDS jeopardizes democratic policymaking space both at home and abroad, while also removing risks and lowering costs for companies seeking to outsource work.”

Earlier this year, the Koch-funded American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) organized a pro-ISDS letter signed by only 12 state legislators.

The letter opposing ISDS was signed by 312 state legislators, including large numbers of Democrats and Republicans, as well as those from other political parties.

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