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"If H-1B visa reform goes ahead, here are the GATS violations US would be committing" - Firstpost - India (2017)

"Few know that India has already filed an objection (referred to as ‘request for consultation’ which is the first step for trade dispute settlement) with the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in March last year on the current H-1B visa rules. If Trump has his way upending work-visa programs than the present Indian concerns may just look finicky. India requested for consultations with the US, regarding certain American measures for imposing increased fees (objections to “pay higher filing fees and fraud prevention and detection fees under certain specified circumstances”) on certain applicants for L-1 (a non-immigrant visa which allows companies to relocate foreign qualified employees to its US subsidiary or parent company) and H-1B (a non-immigrant visa that allows American employers to temporarily employ foreign workers in speciality occupations), and concerns relating to a numerical commitment for H-1B visas. India has said that these measures are in violation of several articles of the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) — the set of multilateral rules that govern international trade in services. New Delhi requested for consultations with Washington that were held last year. India has not yet requested the WTO for establishing a Dispute Settlement Board (DSB). Specifically, India has said that some Washington measures on these categories of visa holders violate clauses related to Most-Favoured-Nation (MFN) treatment, rules on transparency, clauses on domestic regulation, measures to increase the participation of developing countries in world trade and commitments to market access and national treatment. Consider some of these stipulations under GATS. The national treatment clause says that a government shall accord services and service suppliers of other countries “in respect of all measures affecting the supply of services, treatment no less favourable than that it accords to its own like services and service suppliers”. The MFN treatment clause requires that governments should accord “immediately and unconditionally” treatment “no less favourable” to a country what it accords to other countries for like services and service suppliers. In sectors where a country has undertaken market commitments, the measures that a country cannot “adopt or maintain” in its sub-regions or its territory extend to limitations on the number of service suppliers whether in the form of numerical quotas, monopolies, exclusive service suppliers or the requirements of an economic needs test, limitations on the total number of service operations or on the total quantity of service output expressed in numerical units in quotas, among other such stipulations. The clause on movement of Natural Persons Supplying Services in the GATS Annex says that though GATS does not prevent a country from applying measures to regulate the entry of natural persons into, or their temporary stay in its territory, “provided that such measures are not applied in such a manner as to nullify or impair the benefits accruing to any Member under the terms of a specific commitment”. All of these possible violations would be important to cite if India chooses to request WTO to set up a DSB. After the panel judgment, either of the countries can appeal against the judgment. If the highest international trade court even then rules in favour of India then US would be bound to comply. However, it is unclear how much the Trump administration would feel bound by its WTO commitments, including dispute judges’ verdicts against it. The growing rhetoric of “unfair” trade agreements used in the current US political discourse might even see Washington pulling out of the WTO. India and most other WTO members are in for rough weather in the present climate as far as trade negotiations with the US are concerned. In a hypothetical situation of India winning a case against the US regulations on work visas at the highest trade court and US ignoring the verdict against it, India can seek WTO’s authorisation to retaliate (to “suspend concessions or other obligations”) against the US — normally such an authorisation is not refused, trade experts opine. India could then consider imposing punitive tariffs on US imports. Another option for retaliation, experts say, could be the refusal to recognise some of the intellectual property (IP) rights of US right holders. But this option of retaliation could involve a much more complicated procedure. An across-the-board or discriminatory higher tariffs, on the face of it, would also be violative of international trade rules, particularly the MFN clause, though much depends on the nitty-gritties of the American legal changes in trade policy. Even Trump’s ‘Buy American, Hire American’ would not be so easy to implement if US does choose to abide by its international trade commitments. There could be two scenarios: one, when the US government procures only from domestic sources, and linked with that the government mandates that even a private entity must source from within the US. In both these possible realities, there is no talk of subsidies yet (which could violate other WTO rules). “In the first situation, the US has some flexibility — it is government procurement to mandate procurement from domestic sources provided this is for non-commercial use and for government’s own use. Then the US would be within its rights to mandate such a local procurement for government purposes. But if the US government mandatorily requires even the private sector to source domestically then that would be violative of WTO rules,” Abhijit Das, Head of the Centre for WTO Studies at the Indian Institute of Foreign Trade says. “Then the second situation where US government gives incentives to procure domestically, such an incentive would be violative of WTO subsidies agreement. This is commonly called the local content subsidy, which is prohibited,” he adds." Updated Date: February 06, 2017 08:39:31 IST

"Visas and Work Permits: Can GATS/WTO help or is a New Global Entity needed?"

Most Americans don't realize that previous Administrations put into place a gradual process that is trading "their" jobs away, and that the power of vastly lower wages is pretty much insurmountable when it really starts happening. The time to change this was in the past, when the primaries were determining political candidates. Where will now working Americans go? Anywhere we can afford. We will be on our own as GATS and similar agreements are also silently dismantling safety nets all around the world. This is an example of the literature on setting up a global "GATS Visa" that trumps national laws on work-related permits.

transnational capitalist class

These are the global antidemocratic people who are executing their quiet coup against all Americans and others elsewhere. The two US parties are one of many national disinformation games - a ruse to conceal the real coup and divide the nation. Paradoxically, these trade deals that are supposed to globalize the world actually divide it and put the world's people in an adversarial position where the vast majority of the world's people are set against one another in order to keep the very rich and well fed on top. The system in the US is increasingly totally rigged for them.

Mode 4 trade in services: promoting temporary labour mobility via the trade détour?

By Werner Raza, A comprehensive process of the liberalisation of trade and capital flows notwithstanding, neoliberal globalisation has not been equally successful in freeing the international movement of labour. With the General Agreement on Trade in Services, (GATS), the WTO set up a novel legal framework within the domain of trade politics that includes the cross-border movement of natural persons to deliver services, labelled Mode 4, thus aiming at the promotion of temporary labour mobility. This article seeks to explain the emergence of Mode 4 and its subsequent development as the outcome of a particular politics of scale motivated by the interests of transnational capital as well as the strategic selectivity of specific institutional terrains. The result has been a compromise that restricts Mode 4 liberalisation to highly qualified personnel only. Keywords: political economy, international trade, labour mobility, Mode 4, EU trade policy, services

Temporary labor migration programs Governance, migrant worker rights, and recommendations for the U.N. Global Compact for Migration

By Daniel Costa and Philip Martin • Economic Policy Institute August 1, 2018. The suggestion made that only some inherently temporary jobs should rely on migrant work and workers is a good one but its quixotic and shamefully unrealistic with all of Wall Street counting the gains to be had from turning literally most work into precariatized, temporary labor. Even despite coronavirus, they are determined to do it, "on principle" (Note: One might get a dangerously ignorant false impression on the situation from this paper, if one doesnt realize how much power is being brought to bear to crack our ability to regulate work-related labor. The WTO wants to be put in charge - and has since it was still its predecessor, GATT in the 1980s. In fact putting "Services" under the WTO was the main reason it was formed.) (The effect on wages and the existence/sustainability of having a middle class globally will be astronomical.)

GATS Mode 4: Movement of Natural Persons and Protection of Migrant Workers’ Rights (International Labor Organization)

GATS Mode 4: Movement of Natural Persons and Protection of Migrant Workers’ Rights By Pradip Bhatnagar A Paper presented during the Challenges and Opportunities of Bilateral and Multilateral Arrangements for the Mobility of Health Professionals and Other Skilled Migrant Workers Training Programme held on 8-10 October 2014, Philippines (note: Migrant Workers in this context are usually high skilled, professional laborers, such as doctors, nurses, computer programmers, engineers, coders, administrative workers, teachers, or executives.) Other jobs don't matter as much profit wise so the body shop firms are not interested in them, but ultimately, like shale gas etc, they will in turn come under the same pressures.

Migration Policy Institute's "Migrants' Human Rights: Could GATS Help?" ignores core facts about GATS Mode Four, whitewashes its problems.

NOTE: The WTO is completely human rights agnostic. And as such GATS Mode Four favors multinational staffing (i.e. "body shop") corporations moving to countries with very low wages and levels of regulation that are signatory to many trade agreements, in a sense forum shopping for the countries with the lowest wages and worker rights. (which will often apply in lieu of a labor consuming country having other laws, other laws that may not even be applicable if the work is done under a trade agreement, for example, see WTO document T/N/S/14 for the arguments against national wage laws applicability. Trade agreements are also harmonizing other regulations downward to the lowest common denominator levels. When the WTO talks about "wage parity" for example, it means the lowest legal wage. i.e minimum wage, not prevailing wages in a field.

Graphic illustrates why the oligarchy wants to capture migration for corporations..

Globally. Thats a hidden gotcha they embedded in the WTO when it was set up. Which could easily turn out to be one of the epic mistakes of all time. This graphic which is repeated in a great many of the dozens of papers hyping TMNP is also fairly misleading, given that the ratio between wages in expensive countries like the US and poor countries like India can be 20 times or more, not the small amount pictured here. Also, they consistently try to confuse temporary movement of natural persons with actual immigration for the purpose of permanent migration (traditional immigration) which most Americans have a favorable opinion of. But the two are totally different. One is freedom, the other is often compared to modern slavery.

Edward Alden: India's landmark WTO challenge to US

In the midst of a xenophobic U.S. presidential campaign in which candidates in both parties have harangued China and Japan over their trade policies, and leading Republicans have called for a "great wall" to keep out immigrants from Mexico and Central America, one country has quietly refused to take it any longer. The government of India filed suit on March 3 in the World Trade Organization (WTO) seeking to overturn a new U.S. tax on high-skilled migrants that India says discriminates against its citizens and would damage some of its most successful companies. The case marks the first time that a country's immigration laws have been challenged using the rules of a trade agreement. And despite the logic of India's action, it may well be the last such case. With tariffs on imports already very low in most countries, economists have argued that easing restrictive immigration laws in advanced countries would now do far more than additional trade liberalization to boost global growth. Michael Clemens of the Center for Global Development has written that immigration restrictions are the "greatest single class of distortions in the global economy," amounting to "trillion dollar bills on the sidewalk" if such distortions could be eliminated.......

US—India Visa Fee Controversy before the WTO: A Migration-Mobility Nexus for the WTO?

This is more about the outrageous DS-503 WTO dispute case that would allow unlimited guest workers to be imported into the US and other countries by foreign corporations, allowing them to do an end run around wage and labor laws and possibly ending the middle class most of us grew up with, and decent work for decent wages forever, possibly as soon as next year.

Certain U.S. Laws for Foreign Workers Draw Fire from India in the WTO (US Congress research "CRS" report)

This is an arguably incomplete, dismissive Congressional Research Reports report (PDF) on the DS503 case, but it fails to portray the situation with the needed urgency. . Note that they say that there is a possibility of the US losing the case, and having to modify behavior on the contested parts of our work visa system, which includes the visa quotas that limit the numbers of work visas granted per year. The effect of massive job outsourcing on workers is that many job ads turn out to be fake, using up jobseekers energy. It's only because of the quotas that far more jobs that can be, are not currently offshored. But the amount might rise very substantially. A very bad idea in this time of falling employment. GATS Mode Four and Three should be reduced or eliminated, not expanded. Professor Alan Blinder of Princeton found that 26% of all US jobs could be outsourced and offshored. A replication study of his study, attempting to verify his work found that actually 46% of our jobs are in immediate danger of outsourcing, But they left public services, the main target of GATS, out. So the actual number likely to be outsourced is potentially significantly higher.

DS503

DS503 is a WTO dispute that was filed in 2016 by India against the US. It contains a number of innocent-looking requests that when investigated...

Labor Mobility-by Sherry Stephenson and Gary Hufbauer

In international services trade, labor mobility is conceptualized as the temporary movement of natural persons and is categorized as mode 4. Article I.2 (d) of the WTO General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) defines mode 4 as the supply of a service “by a service supplier of one Member, through presence of natural persons of a Member in the territory of any other Member.” A natural person of another member is defined as a natural person who resides in the territory of that other Member or any other Member, and who under the law of that other Member: (i) is a national of that other Member; or (ii) has the right of permanent residence in that other Member . . .” (Article XVIII[k])

"Breaking the rules to prevent rule-breaking? The GATS and service mobility: drawing lines between genuine immigration control and protectionism"

Essential article on DS-503 WTO dispute that could drastically impact the size of the middle class in the US and in many other countries all around the world. (by reducing its size due to large scale job outsourcing) Would also lower the wages across the board for workers. Would heavily impact public services. GATS 'movement of natural persons' (Mode Four) and its Mode Three are the most controversial parts of the longstanding trade deal because they attempt to create new rights to which seem to allow companies bypassing national labor laws. This case could take intra-company cross border labor for work- "non-immigrant" temporary migration to work out of hands of governments and put it in the hands of the WTO. The US is a test case and the decision might be binding on many other countries as well. Could dramatically lower wages for many professions at all skill levels, from professional to fairly basic. Any job that has been the subject of GATS commitments in a country, which are very broad. In the US could easily impact tens of millions of jobs cutting many careers short. Even with visa quotas IT has already been greatly impacted, leaving many workers struggling to find work. Situation is likely to get much much worse if the WTO panel decides in India's favor. Indian-affiliated "US" IT firms are notorious for not hiring US workers, even US workers with Indian backgrounds. They want dis-empowered workers whose status in the US depends on their job. This is a very bad situation that could become the norm in dozens of high employment fields. Might cause extreme loss of trust in government, a shift we might not recover from.

Movement of Natural Persons (Mode-4) Under GATS: Advantage Developing Countries

(by Dipankar Dey) "The actual potential of Mode-4 could not be exploited for the benefit of developing countries that enjoy comparative advantage in this mode over others. The developed countries have offered almost nothing in the Mode-4 negotiation despite liberalizing labor mobility via other mechanisms. So far, the developing country policy makers have failed to exploit the comparative advantage they claim to enjoy in Mode-4. They should be blamed either for their inability to assess the true potential of this mode of service or for their failure to chalk out an effective strategy during negotiation. The Southern negotiators should prepare themselves with appropriate strategy and tactics to enable them to put pressure on their Northern counterparts, for binding the latter's commitments on liberal market access, better working condition and protection of human rights for the immigrant workers." (See also the references cited in this essay.)

Who traded who what in the GATS?

Its clear to me that neither Americans nor Britons have even the foggiest idea of what the GATS is or even that it exists. But it does and its one of the main reasons why everything is so broken.

IT Sector being "extraordinarily disrupted" by abuse of L-1B and H-1B visa programs on a large scale to replace US workers, this is being caused in no small part by GATS.

In particular, GATS' "movement of natural persons" provisions. (GATS' 'Mode Four') which can pay as little as US minimum wage. (even that is a subject of dispute by developing countries who claim that under trade agreements - specifically under visas like the L-1B visa, that they have a right to pay their temporary non-immigrant visa holding workers, whatever they want. This right is claimed under the original Uruguay Round and is the subject of WTO dispute DS 503, filed in March 2016 by India, and still to my knowledge unresolved.)

"TTIP, CETA and TISA – what you need to know about EU trade agreements " (by UNISON global trade union)

(Note, liberalize means privatize and globalize, i.e. outsource often across international borders, typically via a tender, the lowest qualified bidding subcontractor gets the entitlement to do the work. Countries have to allow it, with the rationale being its temporary to allow a subcontracting firm to do business, saving money on wages, increasing profitability for firms, not permanently for immigration. Terms can be quite long, though even decades, employees are often kept in a state of precarity. Think global gig economy. or NAFTA for the rest of the jobs, FTAs undermine wages strongly. They wll start out with public sector jobs like teaching, nursing and IT for academia, etc.)

COMMUNICATION FROM ARGENTINA, BOLIVIA, BRAZIL, CHILE, COLOMBIA, INDIA, MEXICO, PAKISTAN, PERU, PHILIPPINES, THAILAND AND URUGUAY Categories of Natural Persons for Commitments under Mode 4 of GATS

"Mode 4 – Movement of Natural Persons to Provide Services Let’s start with the last of these categories first. A better term for “Mode 4” would be “domestic immigration policy.” In the United States, the Constitution gives the Congress exclusive authority for setting our domestic immigration policy (Article I-8.) The very notion that immigration policy would be set via GATS Mode 4 negotiations by trade negotiators in Geneva has our congressional leaders deeply concerned. Indeed, when such immigration provisions were slipped into U.S. Free 4Trade Agreements with Singapore and Chile, the agreements were nearly rejected by Congress and a commitment was obtained from the Bush Administration that future trade pacts would never again contain such provisions. I understand that here in the European Union there have been equally heated debates over immigration policy and I assume there are the same concerns about separation of powers and democratic accountability here as well. A group of developing countries led by India have joined together to forward a common position on Mode 4 that focuses on the cross border movement of professionals, but does not insist that these professionals are paid the same wages as their peers in developed nations. 5 Moreover, these proposals would set up a system within countries by which a class of workers would have their basic rights – indeed their very right to be in a country – controlled by their employer not the laws of the country in which they are working. This would not only undercut wages, work hours, vacation policy, the right to organize, and other labor policy in developed countries and generate foreseeably ugly social tension, but it would also exacerbate the problems of “brain drain” in the developing world. A respected study presented at the WTO that advocated increased Mode 4 liberalization showed that the community left behind by Mode 4 workers suffers significantly increased welfare costs. In other words, developing countries pay dearly for “brain drain” associated with outward migrating professionals. 6 Plus, the ongoing tragedy presented by the immigration of doctors and nurses from Africa to Europe and the United States has been well-documented. 7 Moreover, there have been various alarming proposals on licensing and qualification requirements (in the context of the Working Party on Domestic Regulations which is discussed in detail below). What is envisioned here are “harmonization exams” to establish equivalency and to facilitate the movement of workers across borders. National, state or provincial licensing requirements and “language competency” are characterized as unnecessary obstacles to the smooth flow of workers across borders. 8 Once professional service sectors are signed up to the GATS, “disciplines” are envisioned which would apply a “necessity test” to all domestic regulations relating to that profession. The WTO has already completed one such set of rules which apply to the accounting sector and require that licensing, qualification and technical standards be “no more trade restrictive than necessary.”" (quote from Lori Wallach Testimony to EU. The linked document is the proposal by a group of developing countries to set up and lock in a return to indentured servitude. They see this as their pay back for being in the WTO. It replaces immigration with corporate capture, for example, in the US, L1B visas - similar to H1B but with much lower wages and almost no rights. This is being pushed in on us very skillfully by what amounts to an international "coalition of the wealthy" under the radar as part of the GATS' and similar "agreements" coercive global takeover.)

The State of Play in GATS Negotiations: Are Developing Countries Benefiting?

I am including articles like this so that we out-of-the-loop Americans can see other points of view. I disagree with the premise that trade agreements trading away rapidly vanishing good jobs forever is somehow good. I don't think it helps the poor in any conceivable way. Highly skilled workers, as they are alleged to be - in order to get their nonimmigrant work visas, should be paid a decent wage, not be working almost for free just for a reference, while body shop firms pocket most of their earnings, paying them in many cases less than US minimum wage (when you divide the number of hours they actually work by their wages). But thats what GATS Mode Four attempts to do, and make it irreversible. The job losses to the indigenous workers are called "efficiency gains". These programs will heavily impact the core middle class professions, turning them into precarious labor. It will be quite literally NAFTA for the rest of the jobs. That's been GATS' goal from the beginning.

Movement of Natural Persons (Mode-4) Under GATS: Advantage Developing Countries

(There are many sides to this story, here is another one of them! GATS set up what amounts to a competition between everybody in the world for a shrinking pool of jobs in order to lower wages and working conditions for everybody) by Dipankar Dey "The actual potential of Mode-4 could not be exploited for the benefit of developing countries that enjoy comparative advantage in this mode over others. The developed countries have offered almost nothing in the Mode-4 negotiation despite liberalizing labor mobility via other mechanisms. So far, the developing country policy makers have failed to exploit the comparative advantage they claim to enjoy in Mode-4. They should be blamed either for their inability to assess the true potential of this mode of service or for their failure to chalk out an effective strategy during negotiation. The Southern negotiators should prepare themselves with appropriate strategy and tactics to enable them to put pressure on their Northern counterparts, for binding the latter's commitments on liberal market access, better working condition and protection of human rights for the immigrant workers."

Jobs Abroad Support ‘Model’ State in India

By JASON DePARLE TRIVANDRUM, India — "This verdant swath of southern Indian coastline is a famously good place to be poor. People in the state of Kerala live nearly as long as Americans do, on a sliver of the income. They read at nearly the same rates. With leftist governments here in the state capital spending heavily on health and schools, a generation of scholars has celebrated the “Kerala model” as a humane alternative to market-driven development, a vision of social equality in an unequal capitalist world. .. the benevolent path to development, a retort to globalization — makes the travails of its 1.8 million globalizing migrants especially resonant. The debate about Kerala is a debate about future strategies across the impoverished world".

GATS, Migration, and Labor Standards

(Search domain www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/---dgreports/---inst/documents/publication/wcms_193612.pdf Mode 4]," Abdel-Hamid Mamdouh, director of trade in services at the World Trade Organization said "Ah, yes - it could be hundreds [of millions] if we liberalize." John Zarocostas, Migration helps export services, Washington Times, January 3, 2005, p. A10.

TISA - backdoor services liberalisation on a global level!

The Trade in Services Agreement (TISA) currently under negotiation on the side-line of the World Trade Organization (WTO) poses significant deregulatory threats for the majority of services sectors. International trade in services is dealt with by the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) and its annexes. Each WTO country so far autonomously decides which sectors are to be opened up to cross-border competition. Services sectors liberalisation is carried out once governments gave their explicit agreement to do so (positive lists). TISA intends to reverse this logic and implement a negative listing of liberalisation commitments. Only explicitly targeted sectors in the agreement would not be subject to further liberalisation. This poses significant risks of liberalising all services sectors of the economy unless explicitly exempted from the agreement. TISA would contain “Standstill” and “Ratchet” clauses. Standstill clauses effectively freeze the degrees of regulation in particular sectors and countries are no longer free to implement more strident regulatory provisions. A recently leaked text showed that the financial services industry, through TISA, intends to freeze international financial regulatory efforts by setting a minimum regulatory floor which could not be subsequently superseded by any government wishing so. Ratchet clauses effectively impede government to reverse achieved liberalisation floors. Once a sector is liberalised, there cannot be a turning back. These clauses mean that governments will no longer be able to challenge decisions and choices made by previous governments. The combination of the ratchet and standstill clauses renders the reversal of liberalisation levels impossible. Additionally, TISA could prescribe necessity tests for regulatory measures. Governments would have to prove the necessity of a regulatory instrument before implementing it. For example, in a discussion of universal coverage, a Government would have to prove the necessity of re-regulating already privatised services such as postal services.

Ellen Gould discusses GATS on Talking Stick TV.

Video - Ellen Gould is a trade expert whose insight here is quite accurate. See what she tells us here about domestic regulations, technical standrds, licensing, medical standards, everything. Lots of info on what they want to do with healthcare. The WTO could sanction us if we wanted our doctors to meet higher standards than those in the developing countries. (around 25:00) The WTO also wants us to allow for profit offshoring of poor patients. Which would be subject to the same problems as the for profit system does now, except likely worse, with less accountability.