An ad campaign released Tuesday calls on President Donald Trump to protect America’s energy “dominance” while negotiating NAFTA changes.
The American Council for Capital Formation — a D.C. think tank that supports free market policies — came out with a television ad that encourages Trump to defend Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) panels within NAFTA. ISDS is an international system within the North American Free Trade Agreement where investors can sue for alleged discriminatory practices. Preserving ISDS, the group argues, is essential in protecting America’s position as the world’s top energy producer.
“Today, the U.S. is the world’s largest energy producer, but our dominance is put at risk by those who seek to weaken the investor-state dispute settlement system in NAFTA,” the 30-second ad began. “So President Trump, defend America First and our energy dominance. Uphold these protections for America’s energy producers.”
The commercial, which will run in the D.C. market on Fox News, Fox Business and MSNBC, is meant to appeal to the president himself, who is a regular consumer of television news.
As the world’s biggest energy producer, U.S. energy companies have a vested interest in protecting institutions that allow for international disputes to be properly handled by a fair, neutral party. ISDS, supporters argue, provides such a channel.
The concerted effort to protect ISDS comes as Trump continues to express interest in renegotiating NAFTA, an international trade agreement between the U.S., Mexico and Canada. He has derided “very stupid trade deals” made by prior administrations. He has threatened to completely withdraw from the North American agreement, saying it does more harm than good.
Tuesday marked the second day of negotiations between NAFTA representatives at the Winder Building in Washington, D.C. U.S. Trade Rep. Robert Lighthizer has voiced concern over ISDS, suggesting the decision-making panels erode American sovereignty and make it easier for U.S. businesses to relocate production to other countries.
Many members of Congress have tried to convince Lighthizer otherwise, with more than 100 U.S. lawmakers sending him a letter stating that “ISDS provisions at least as strong as those contained in the existing NAFTA must be included in a modernized agreement to win Congressional support.”
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