When Multinationals Attack Governments

Directed by Laure Delesalle

Three significant cases provide an edifying deciphering of the power of international arbitration tribunals, which threaten to give precedence to the profits of multinationals over the general interest.


What happens when a multinational company is dissatisfied with a regulation or law that harms its profits? It takes the State to a private court of law: an international arbitration tribunal. Didn't you know about this? Of course not, all this is happening behind closed doors in the greatest secrecy. For taxpayers, billions are at stake. An international investigation into a hidden struggle between the power of states and that of multinationals.

In autumn 2016, millions of Europeans took to the streets to protest against AECG, the free trade agreement with Canada. Its rejection by Wallonia, through the voice of its minister-president Paul Magnette, plunged the EU into a serious crisis and put arbitration tribunals under the spotlight - and under criticism. This mechanism, provided for in many international trade agreements, allows multinationals to sue governments before private judges - corporate lawyers - to claim compensation for actual or potential loss of earnings caused by a change in legislation. In 2016, Cosigo Resources Ltd. filed an arbitration claim against Colombia: by classifying a sacred Amazonian territory as a "national natural park", Bogotá cancelled the Canadian company's mining concession. The company estimates its losses at 16 billion dollars, or around 20 % of the Colombian national budget...

Direction :
Laure Delesalle
Writing :
Claire Alet
Production :
YAMI 2 - Christophe Nick
Broadcast :
Year of broadcast :
Duration :
90 min

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