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Against the “lex mercatoria”. Proposals and alternatives for controlling transnational corporations

Juan Hernández Zubizarreta & Pedro Ramiro (OMAL, 2016)

Jueves 27 de octubre de 2016

Operating and marketing contracts signed by large corporations, trade treaties and investment protection agreements negotiated between States, fiscal adjustment policies imposed by the International Monetary Fund, conditional loans granted by the World Bank along with the measures sponsored by the World Trade Organisation, investor-State dispute settlement systems included in “free trade” treaties and suits brought by multinationals against States in international arbitration tribunals, thousands of rules and regulations on trade and investment serving to protect the interests of transnational corporations worldwide – such is the machinery of the lex mercatoria, the new global corporate law by which legal certainty is given to the transactions of large corporations while their social, labour and environmental obligations are left up to corporate goodwill and “business ethics”.

And as they armour-plate their rights with a global legal framework based on the prolific regulatory output of international economic and financial institutions and multilateral bodies, large corporations refer their obligations to national legislation previously subordinated to neoliberal logic, to international human rights law characterised by weakness in addressing abuses committed by multinationals, and to “social responsibility” and codes of conduct based on voluntariness, with no legal enforceability to oblige transnational firms to effectively respect human rights.

Title: Against the “lex mercatoria”. Proposals and alternatives for controlling transnational corporations.
Authors: Juan Hernández Zubizarreta and Pedro Ramiro.
Translate from Spanish to English: Roderick George and Timothy Bruce Allen.
Layout and cover design: Alba Onrubia García.
Edited by: Observatorio de Multinacionales en América Latina - Paz con Dignidad.
Pages: 111

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