The Obama administration has announced that it is expediting negotiations on a bilateral investment treaty (BIT) with China and is in similar talks with several other countries. At the same time, the Administration is conducting an inter-agency review of the U.S. model BIT, the template that serves as a starting point for substantive negotiations. These treaties, as well as the nearly identical investment chapters of trade agreements, have become increasingly controversial.
In a recent advisory committee report to the State Department, several labor, environmental, and other public interest organizations raised concerns that current rules facilitate and accelerate the off-shoring of U.S. jobs, allow private investors to undermine environmental protections by suing for damages in international tribunals, and prohibit certain policies designed to prevent or mitigate financial crisis. Moreover, rising foreign investment in the United States increases the likelihood that U.S. laws will be the target of investor lawsuits, particularly if the U.S. government ratifies deals with China and other major economies. This briefing will feature perspectives from individuals who served on the advisory committee.
This briefing is sponsored by Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH).
Labor standards: Owen Herrnstadt, International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers
Environmental protections and conflicts with U.S. law: Matthew C. Porterfield, Harrison Institute for Public Law – Georgetown Law
China and state-owned enterprises: Linda Andros, United Steelworkers
Financial stability: Kevin Gallagher, Boston University
Moderator: Sarah Anderson, Institute for Policy Studies
Organized by: AFL-CIO; Center for International Environmental Law; Earthjustice; Global Development and Environment Institute, Tufts University; Institute for Policy Studies; International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers; Sierra Club; and United Steelworkers of America.