Global Trade

The Methanex Corporation, a Canadian chemical company, stumbled today in its attempt to sue the U.S. government for almost $1 billion over a crucial California clean water law. The Sierra Club welcomes the decision by a tribunal under the North America Free Trade Agreement of the Americas (NAFTA). But we are concerned that the narrow procedural ruling left the door open for future anti-environmental decisions by this tribunal or by NAFTA tribunals in other cases.
Conclusion to a new CorpWatch report that shines a light on the role of six major banks in Greece, Ireland and Spain in the EuroZone crisis that left borrowing countries deep in debt.
Patrick Daniel, the CEO of Enbridge Inc, is bullish about the future of unconventional oil from Canada's massive tar sand deposits. His company not only operates North America's longest crude oil and liquid pipelines, but transports 12 percent of the oil that the U.S. imports daily. Canada's bitumen, or dirty crude, lies under a forest area the size of England and is arguably the world's last remaining giant oil field.
Still, about 70 of the 500 protesters outside the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade were arrested during a ''search and rescue mission'' to retrieve a working draft of the proposed Free Trade Area of the Americas.
A landmark legal case now before the US Supreme Court holds huge implications for lakes across the continent. Nearly four decades the Clean Water Act was passed to protect waterways from industrial pollution, a proposal by Coeur d'Alene Mines Corp. to dispose of tons of effluent in Alaska's Lower Slate Lake has sparked an international debate.
Maquiladora workers voice constant fears about their safety on the job. In the electronics industry alone, workers are exposed to a variety of substances which include xylene, trichloroethylene, zinc and lead oxides, and nitric acid. Not only electronics assembly but other industries as well expose workers to the materials used in thinners, paints, solvents, resins, solders, dyes, flux, and acetone. Exposure to such substances without proper protection can cause cancer, reproductive problems, skin diseases, vision problems, respiratory impairments, gastrointestinal and nervous disorders, and headaches and fatigue.
Issuing a landmark ruling that opens the way for compensation claims against oil conglomerates, a court in Nigeria has declared the flaring of natural gas illegal.
A confidential Ernst & Young audit of labor and environmental conditions inside a Nike factory in Vietnam was leaked to the Transnational Resource & Action Center (TRAC) in 1997. This is the first time that an accounting firm's labor and environmental audit of any apparel company has ever been made public. This internal audit reveals that Nike workers continue to work in hazardous and unjust working conditions. TRAC's report, Smoke From A Hired Gun is an analysis and critique of the Ernst & Young audit that shows that things are even worse than Nike admits.
Repsol, a multinational based in Spain, has brought a class action lawsuit in New York courts against the Argentine government for the re-nationalization of YPF, the former Argentine state oil company. Environmentalists question both parties over the impact of the company.
Are World Bank-funded efforts to compensate for corporate emissions sustainable? Or will they affect poor communities disproportionately?