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The Global Financial Crisis And Government Support For Banks : What Role For The GATS?

This paper examines whether the GATS is a useful instrument to tackle government support that creates distortions of international competition in the banking sector. The GATS has no specific provisions on subsidies. However, general support schemes ‘as such’ or ‘as applied’ may violate Article XVII if they exclude foreign- owned banks with a commercial presence in the territory of the WTO Member that adopts the scheme. This depends on the specific commitments of the WTO Member and the limitations to this commitment. Moreover, it is required that the excluded banks are ‘like’ the domestic banks. A single application of a general scheme may violate Article VI:1 if solid evidence is available that this application is not reasonable, objective or impartial. Despite these possible violations, the great majority of measures will still be justified under the broad ‘prudential carve-out’. Only support measures that are not reasonably able to achieve the prudential goal will not be exempted. Hence, the GATS imposes only in very limited cases restraint on government support. The WTO Members should address the remaining uncertainties with regard to both the obligations and the exception. This would ensure that the GATS is able to prevent that government support distorts competition and would also alleviate concerns that the GATS constitutes a danger to financial stability.

Perils of the US-India free trade agreement for Indian farmers (grain.org)

Dated May 26, 2020. so this is about the Trump Administration, and agricultural issues but the US-India FTA has NOT gone away. As India has with jobs, (services) the US has similarly weaponized agriculture, IP, and a cluster of related issues. To hear how many put it, we've become a monster. indulging the huge corporations every wish. The issues surrounding what the US agribusiness corporations want on seeds (Actually, virtually all IP, including generic drugs they want taken off the market, drugs that saved many peoples lives) We also are pushing for rights to sell often controversial pesticides and hormones and chemicals and food products that use them which should be left to countries. The battle over seeds is particularly scary. IMHO if we want to keep our midlevel high skilled jobs, which were foolishly put on the table during the 1990s Uruguay Round, (and now the TNCs are drooling over the prospect of replacing a great many unionized and high skill workers with cheap guestworkers who really deserve decent wages, if they are to come here, and should not be used as scabs to screw US workers) we really should stand down on these other issues., Nothing is as it seems. The corporatists are hiding all this for a bunch of fairly clear reasons.

services of general economic interest

Services which do not qualify for any governmental authority exclusion, i.e. commercial services with a shrinking public component (the public component must shrink, and transition to market based entirely.) Note, this only applies in services with government involvement at the federal, state or local level or when the government has control or where tax money is used see definition of "all measures of general application".

Fake "Public Option" scheme trotted out every four years to hide the GATS lock-in for another four years.

What they call in Europe "services of general economic interest". Why can't it work here? Because the EU services were pre-existing to GATS, so are grandfathered in. If they made any changes, like Brexit, they would break too. Just ike the UK's have been gradually being privatized. And like us, they are not allowed to create any new ones unless they modify their GATS commitments, and if they had committed healthcare they likely have to pay a high price for doing so.

governmental authority exclusion

These are articles on the all important exclusion that defines what member government activities can be called "public services" and be excluded from the onerous GATS rules.

Cafeteria Style Coronavirus Insurance Coverage, coming here soon?

These attenuated Third World health insurance plans that allow you to pick from a menu of diseases you fear most, are coming to the US soon. This kind of "GATS-legal" viciously attenuated coverage for the financially unsophisticated American may be the only future that is legal to offer the poor, under OUR pre-existing conditions, the WTO financial services rules and their standstill. Disclosure requirements may be one of the only restrictions that is still allowed under GATS.

Like with healthcare, Brexit's influence on higher education and public colleges and universities in the UK is quite uncertain at best, because of an intentionally ambiguous WTO definition of what can be considered "public".

See the "governmental authority exclusion", "GATS Article I:3" and "Annex on Financial Services" keywords for more on this huge gotcha which also blocks proposals for free college and Medicare for All in the US (and threatens to dismantle the US's Medicare and Social Security unless they remain restricted to the retired only). How will these changes impact social mobility in the UK?

The Effects of International Trade Agreements on Canadian Health Measures: Options for Canada with a View to the Upcoming Trade Negotiations (2002)

Richard Ouellet, Laval University (October 2002) -- "It will be noted that while Canada has avoided the potential effects that the international economic agreements could have on health care, it has done so by taking advantage of the structure of agreements based on quite different approaches. • If the Canadian government wishes to continue exempting our public health systems from the effects of these agreements, it will have to acknowledge that doing so by simultaneously using approaches as different as those of the GATS and the NAFTA is not without risks. What is needed is an integrated approach that reflects trade concerns while respecting the health care priorities of governments."

Public services and the GATS, WTO Staff Working Paper, No. ERSD-2005-03, World Trade Organization (WTO), Geneva

Adlung, Rolf (2005) Adlung is a WTO employee. The EU's social safety net is under attack. Partly due to neoliberal construction via FTAs of a new corporate "right of establishment" that nullifies rights to healthcare and education that have never been created in laws as we would hope. Also WTO rules allegedly against "discrimination" ironically are a tool that's being used to dismantle policies and laws against discrimination in countries like the US.

Towards Developing Subsidy Disciplines Under the GATS

Read this carefully so you can understand how the GATS is undermining public education and pulling up the ladders that might otherwise improve social mobility, such as subsidized higher education. All around the world, We are doing this, as are many other rich nations. Its a stealth war on the very idea of a middle class. Everywhere. Note also that this is an Indian government funded think-tank. GATS is really a global con job to con countries out of funding public education, holding out the bait of lower taxes to the wealthy. Judging by email, some readers of this site seem unable to grasp what is going on, as its so far away from what we're fed on TV. Note: "Trade Distortion" is when the normal hierarchies of quality/value/cost (i.e. poor people getting poor services, rich people getting acceptable ones) are disrupted by government intervention or lack of intervention or any other "measure", "devaluing" a service. See also the related principles of minimal derogation, (minimal trade restrictiveness") and proportionality. This applies to healthcare too. Any tiers at all will be expanded. The only way out is to make services free. Thats the only way to preserve their jobs too. Otherwise GATS will outsource them eventually. Unless professionals are willing to work for even less than people in developing countries with rich families who view it as part of the cost to educate them. People with advanced degrees from developing countries are never poor, always rich. So these trade deals do not hep the poor in any way shape or form, they help those who have the most money in very poor countries.

Medicaid Expansion in Health Reform Not Likely to “Crowd Out” Private Insurance

"Contrary to claims by some critics, the Medicaid expansion in the new health reform law will overwhelmingly provide coverage to people who otherwise would be uninsured, rather than shift people who already have private coverage to Medicaid." --- comment: This concept of "crowd-out" was literally created by the GATS and it's concept of minimal trade restrictiveness which requires that all government-subsidized measures be the most minimal possible - as well as possibly time limited, for example, only available to either an individual for only a few years, or possibly a country - for only a short period, perhaps a decade or less, (or perhaps only if they are and remain an LDC) . In this case, Medicaid is kind of a loan, not an insurance program, as it is subject to repayment, and only available to the destitute, and near destitute with assets that will only become available at their deaths, such as a home - after their other options have been used up. This "prevents healthcare prices from falling", and "preserves the profit in selling insurance", and "the value of the insurance companies investment". These are the most important things in a for-profit healthcare system. Especially as it becomes "The one bright spot in a dismal economy"

How the World Trade Organisation is shaping domestic policies in health care

(The Lancet) "The previous round of WTO ministerial talks (the Uruguayan round) allowed governments to protect health and social services from GATS treatment by defining them as government services. According to GATS Article 1.3, a government service is one “which is supplied neither on a commercial basis, nor in competition with one or more service suppliers”. Article 19 of GATS is, however, intended to end this protection. “Members shall enter into successive rounds of negotiations . . . with a view to achieving a progressively higher level of liberalisation.” The WTO secretariat has argued that for services to be classified under Article 1.3 they should be provided free. Many governments initially protected health services from GATS treatment by defining them in this way. But the WTO has highlighted the inconsistencies in this approach. 12 “The hospital sector in many counties . . . is made up of government-owned and privately-owned entities which both operate on a commercial basis, charging the patient or his insurance for the treatment provided. Supplementary subsidies may be granted for social, regional, and similar policy purposes. It seems unrealistic in such cases to argue for continued application of Article I:3, and/or maintain that no competitive relationship exists between the two groups of suppliers of services.” In addition, Article 13 of GATS calls for the end of subsidies that distort trade and requires members to negotiate procedures to combat them. Therefore, according to the WTO, wherever there is a mixture of public and private funding, such as user charge or private insurance, or there are subsidies for non-public infrastructure, such as public-private partnerships or competitive contracting for services, the service sector should be open to foreign corporations. Health-care systems across Europe are vulnerable on all these counts."