Chinese state-backed corporations beat US lawsuits with sovereign immunity

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“I fart in your general direction”

I’m a bit gassy today too.


In March, the judge in the case dismissed CNBM from the suit, reasoning
that plaintiffs had not proven the company conducted any commercial
activity related to drywall in the United States.

So the case was dismissed for reasons that had nothing to do with sovereign immunity.


We used to invent things here. I can’t believe the Chinese beat us to it!


Really it should be up to nation states to set their product standards and enforce them. It isn’t as if there isn’t ISO and the IEC to provide the necessary basis for national standards.
Having done that, it is up to importers to (a) negotiate contracts and (b) police the stuff they are importing.

If foreign companies attempt to evade this, then the option exists to insert a clause in the agreements that both sides will waive sovereign immunity; and if they refuse to sign it, go elsewhere.

After all, no US corporation would be unscrupulous enough to buy stuff from the lowest bidder without looking very closely at the small print? Would they?


Given that China is not a party to the TPP the country’s potential ability to abuse any of agreement’s provisions would be somewhere around zero


The only possible upside(and it’s merely possible and not a whole lot of compensation) would be the legal departments of various US companies doing some…hard thinking…about the risks they incur in business dealings with someone who can sue them but cannot be sued.

Minor nuisances like ‘consumer safety’ are one thing; but if a corporation can enjoy sovereign immunity, that probably isn’t going to make business-to-business interactions with them any more fun either, and that could make people nervous.


I thought this was already old news, I read this a year ago. Much of this drywall (used in Katrina rebuilding) gave off a chemical which destroyed electronics like big screen tv’s and the Chinese company hid behind gov’t immunity. But if our environmental laws interfere with their right to make a profit they can happily sue our govt.

The problem with these trade agreements like the TPP and TPPIP (or whatever) is that they are all done in secret, and ostensibly to remove any red tape… But really there are little trade restrictions any more the “Red Tape” is code for removing those annoying product safety and pollution standards. Why negotiate in secret ? They all know what the issues are. The real reason is that if most people knew they details they would be opposed.


You’ve used the acronym SASAC in the blurb without telling us what it is. It’s the Chinese government agency responsible for managing state owned companies.

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Wrong. Sasac was Spock’s father.

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Spock’s father managed Chinese companies? Star Trek has a very complex backstory.


That was Sarek. Perhaps you mean Savak, the Vulcan officer in Star Trek III.


Exactly. The article seems to have missed that fact. About par for legal reactions on the internet.

China did sign a 31 year agreement with the now defunct Harper Government in Canada which essentially allows China to secretly circumvent Canada’s constitution on all matters of trade while Canada agrees to quietly take it up the ass.

Look forward to a similar agreement in your future!


Lest anyone think that’s hyperbole…

Techdirt: Canada’s New Investment Agreement With China Will Take Precedence Over Canadian Constitution for 31 Years


They will incorporate arms of the appropriate companies in countries that are, don’t you worry.

Found this at the USTR’s website:

• TPP is the first U.S. trade agreement to ensure that private sector businesses and workers are able to compete fairly with SOEs.
• In many cases, SOEs can distort global markets and compete unfairly by blocking U.S. exports, undercutting U.S. companies with cheap subsidized imports, or exploiting preferential regulatory treatment.
• TPP ensures that SOEs in TPP countries compete fairly in their market and ours, making purchases and sales on the basis of the market, rather than on the basis of government interference, subsidies or discriminatory policies.
• TPP ensures that SOEs operating in the U.S. or other TPP members cannot claim legal privileges reserved for governments to avoid regulation applied to private companies.
• At the same time, TPP ensures that U.S. SOEs providing public services continue to operate without interference.

It may be worth mentioning that China isn’t even part of the TPP agreement.

(The rebuttal being that it’s hoped that China will join later.)

If we are to believe the USTR, these Chinese state owned firms would have to surrender sovereign immunities.

I wonder if this story was a plant-- rare instances of perceived injustices hyped up in order to persuade skeptics to change their votes.

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