Email from Trade for People and Planet Team:
Dear Corporate Greed Resisters,
The Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA) is currently being negotiated among 50 countries with the objective of expanding on the existing General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) in the World Trade Organization (WTO).
While President Trump has had a lot to say about the TPP and NAFTA, he has not offered public comment on TiSA, which thus far has major provisions to deregulate and privatize the international service economy, including the financial industry and big data.
Deborah James, Director of International Programs for the Center for Economic and Policy Research, has clearly outlined Trump’s likely incentives to continue with TiSA negotiations. She reminds us that Trump is not against corporate-driven trade agreements. So you can bet that corporations are actively lobbying in Washington for deregulation and privatization, which Trump and his cabinet are actively seeking to implement domestically. Finally, TiSA is focused on services and not necessarily manufacturing, meaning that opposition from manufacturing workers may be lower as the agreement is focused on the service economy.
Here is where things gets scary. Team TiSA – a consortium of multinational financial, logistics, and big data corporations – are looking to set severe limits on how governments can regulate economies domestically while providing strict investor rights provisions. Deborah James outlined ten aspects of TiSA that have been accepted by all parties or are under negotiations that could have significant consequences:
- Companies are expanding the category of “services” in order to make it all-encompassing so that the agreement could apply as broadly within the economy as possible.
- Offshoring and outsourcing of jobs and downward pressure on wages could greatly accelerate as TiSA would lock in labor, tax, and regulatory arbitrage.
- Not only would TiSA promote offshoring of jobs, but it would also greatly expand domestic “inshoring.” Foreign contractors (say from Japan) would be able to bring in workers (say from Philippines) to conduct work inside a consumer country (say the United States) on terms well below the minimum local pay and standards.
- The TiSA does not include a labor chapter, and in fact the draft texts only mention labor rights once.
- Preventing governments at the national, state, and even municipal levels from supporting local business and local employment.
- The principle of “technological neutrality which TiSA negotiators take as a given would have immeasurable job impacts particularly with regard to the “gig” economy. So if a country opened its market to passenger transport services, it could not apply new and different rules to Uber than to traditional taxicabs.
- Job loss as a result of privatization would increase as publicly owned utilities would have to compete under the same rules as private companies, reducing the benefits of public ownership, resulting in the elimination of jobs that inevitably follows privatization.
- The financial services text of the TiSA is the closest thing imaginable to a guarantee of another job-killing financial crisis. If the draft texts were accepted, the TiSA would constrain governments from implementing most of the regulations that are recognized, both domestically and internationally, as essential to prevent another global financial crisis.
- Workers would have to shoulder even more of the tax burden as corporate tax evasions would accelerate.
- The TiSA could potentially be used as the basis of a foreign company’s claim against the United States.
For more details on each point, read Deborah James’s entire article here.
The jury is still out on what the actual contents of the agreement will be under the new administration. However, we do know that the TiSA has been and continues to be a notably secretive agreement with no transparency or public participation. Check out this article by the Electronic Frontier Foundation to learn about their proposals to create inclusive and transparent trade negotiations.
We also know that Congress gave the presidency Fast Track authority under Obama, and this authority has been inherited by President Trump. According to Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch Director Lori Wallach, this means that “Congress has empowered Trump to unilaterally launch NAFTA renegotiations or create bilateral deals with Mexico and Canada; determine the contents, sign and enter into deals before Congress gets a vote; and then write implementing legislation and force congressional consideration in 90 days with amendments forbidden and Senate supermajority rules suspended.” This applies to TiSA as well and is why we were so adamant about pressuring Congress to reject Fast Track in the first place.
Please take a minute and resend this email to 2-5 people. The people need to know what is behind TiSA!
Join our weekly National People’s Agenda Call next Wednesday, Feb. 22 at 9pm EST/ 6pm PST. We need to work together to stop TiSA from passing and to fight the consolidation of the global deregulatory and privatizing machine.
Click here to register for the call.
Unite for Global Justice,
Trade for People and Planet Team
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