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International Regulatory Initiatives in Services: Background Note by the Secretariat - WTO Document S/C/W/97

The main goal of the GATS is trading services, roughly 80% of a modern economy and including most jobs. This is an area that most people don't associate with trade nor do they realize that its been put in the hands of the WTO. One important part of the neoliberal project is trade across borders in various kinds of work. Importing workers to do jobs they can do more economically than "locals". (This initiative was only in its earliest stages in 1997 when this Note was written, now that its more than 20 yrs later its much farther along, but, except in a few service sectors like IT, the US is dragging its feet). Eventually the neoliberal project hopes that trillions of dollars "now wasted on over-high wages" could be "saved" and transformed into profits. Basically, like NAFTA, but for the rest of the country's jobs. Under Track Two of the GATS, barriers to global outsourcing, offshoring, etc. of professional and non-professional services such as work permit or visa barriers or anti-discrimination statutes that might impede outsourcing and similar are quietly being eliminated on a global scale. Outsourcing and offshoring jobs that people depend on to eat out from underneath entire countries and generations of workers is a very sensitive subject so the strategy is "Privatization by stealth".

Crowd-Out Ten Years Later: Have Recent Public Insurance Expansions Crowded Out Private Health Insurance?

This concept is important in countries like the US (and UK as part of the EU) who have made GATS and similar commitments, because whatever it does, any public option is not supposed to cut into a co-existing insurance industry's core customers, if it does, the country's laws are subject to challenge by any interested party. (typically a country, like the US) under GATS rules, which are very broad and designed to create and support new rights of corporations, as protected by countries. If a country feels its insurance industry could do better if the other country was forced to "discipline" its domestic regulations to comply with WTO rules. In the case of health care and health insurance, this key gotcha would not apply in a country where there was a single payer system like Canada's - Don't confuse a system like England's (whose NHS, despite its dominant position, is only a 'public option' therefore quite vulnerable to external challenges) with Canada's (totally single payer+exempt) . See discussions elsewhere on here of "GATS Article I:3" and the "Governmental Authority Exclusion" - use the keyword/tag interface - currently in the left hand column, you may need to scroll down, to find them.

Offshoring companies are gaming the system to do an end run around US wage and hour laws, costing workers their jobs.

This is a good article. I thought that the H-1B visa is for grads of US colleges (foreign students) and that the L-1B visas are for foreign firms that bring in their own workers for typically around six years, at much lower wages. The L-1B workers have advanced degrees but are sometimes paid less than almost any other similarly skilled workers in the US. Its an especially exploitative situation for the foreign IT firms' workers. Who, if they are here, frankly should be able to earn what they are worth, and apply for citizenship after a few years. They shouldnt be exploited for cheap labor. But frankly, they are and its driving a huge amount of dishonesty in Washington. I would not be surprised if I found out healthcare was in part being held hostage, to manufacture a fake "crisis" as a means to get ultra cheap labor.

The Limited Case for Permitting SME Procurement Preferences in the WTO Agreement on Government Procurement

"Any agreement to liberalize procurement markets should deal with the reality that some states have longstanding policies supporting firms owned and controlled by historically disadvantaged individuals, rooted in the constitutional orders of those states. Substantial noneconomic rationales, grounded in notions of social justice and human rights, support these programmes, but the domain of these rationales as they are currently understood is limited to domestic societies. This limitation affects all negotiations to liberalize trade across national borders, in that states (or their leaders) do not hold the view that they have obligations to support the programmes of other states in the area of social justice. I argue that all WTO members should have an equal opportunity to implement noneconomic policies having to do with promoting justice within their borders for their citizens. "