from PublicCitizen Website


Under previous presidential administrations, the United States signed a number of free trade agreements (FTAs) that grant foreign corporations extraordinary rights and protections beyond the rights of domestic companies.


A little-known FTA mechanism called "investor-state" enforcement allows foreign firms to skirt domestic court systems and directly sue governments for cash damages (our tax dollars) over alleged violations of their new rights before United Nations and World Bank tribunals staffed by private sector attorneys who rotate between serving as "judges" and bringing cases for corporations.


Using this extreme system, corporations have sued the U.S. government in foreign trade tribunals for enacting laws or regulations that "interfered" with the corporations' expected profits


This "interference" has included,

  • essential environmental regulations

  • health laws

  • domestic court decisions

These cases are not just threats to domestic U.S. policies. U.S. corporations have also used FTAs to attack public interest laws abroad


If a corporation wins its private enforcement case, the taxpayers of the "losing" country must foot the bill. Over $380 million in compensation has already been paid out to corporations in a series of investor-state cases under U.S. FTAs.


Of the nearly $14 billion in the 18 pending claims under U.S. FTAs, all relate to,

  • environmental

  • energy

  • public health

  • land use

  • transportation policies,

...not traditional trade issues.
The Obama administration is currently negotiating a sweeping new FTA called the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) with,

  • Australia

  • Brunei

  • Canada

  • Chile

  • Japan

  • Malaysia

  • Mexico

  • New Zealand

  • Peru

  • Singapore

  • Vietnam - the first FTA negotiated by the Obama administration

Despite Obama's many campaign promises to scale down investor-state enforcement in trade agreements, the leaked investment chapter of the TPP reveals that the Obama administration intends to expand even further the extreme investor-state model of past FTAs.


If passed, the TPP would grant thousands of corporations these extraordinary rights to sue governments over public interest policies for taxpayer compensation.


Below are the maps of the locations of multinational corporations that would get these new rights if Congress would pass the TPP. 


More than 6,000 corporations with nearly 30,000 corporate affiliates would be able to use these rights, including over 300 financial services companies that could challenge essential financial sector regulations through investor-state provisions.


These corporations could challenge the local zoning and environmental laws of your community, so zoom in using the "+" button to see which corporations are in your city. 


Click on the dots to see the names of the corporations and their industry. The color of the marker indicates the country of the parent company. The red lines on the map are the borders of the districts of the U.S. House of Representatives.


Click here for a full list of companies based in TPP countries that operate in the United States, sorted by congressional district.



  = Corporation based in Australia

  = Corporation based in Vietnam

  = Corporation based in Canada

  = Corporation based in Singapore

  = Corporation based in Japan

  = Corporation based in Mexico

  = Corporation based in Malaysia

  = Corporation based in New Zealand

   = Corporation based in Peru

  = Corporation based in Brunei

  = Corporation based in Chile


  • Public Citizen

  • Sierra Club

  • Friends of the Earth,

...and other organizations have called for a different trade agreement model that protects the environment, workers' rights, and the public interest. 


This new model necessitates eliminating or dramatically scaling down the "investor-state enforcement" provisions of trade agreements which corporations can use to sue governments.


Click here for a report outlining this vision.







Below is a map of U.S. corporations operating in the TPP countries.


Zoom into a specific country by double clicking on the map to view the corporations located there.








Each country, with the exception of Brunei, has hundreds of foreign corporate affiliates established in its territory that would gain new rights under the investor-state dispute system of the TPP.


The table below summarizes the numbers for each country.



 Number of U.S. Corporations

in TPP Countries & TPP Corporations in the U.S.















 New Zealand






 United States






This table indicates, for example, that 6,829 U.S. corporate affiliates are established in Australia, while 14,107 corporate affiliates from the other TPP countries are established in the United States.

The source of much of the information in the maps is Uniworld's foreign firms database.