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Interpreting the General Agreement on Trade in Services and the WTO Instruments Relevant to the International Trade of Financial Services: The Lawyer's Perspective

25 N.C. J. Int'l L. & Com. Reg.1 (1999). by J. S. Jarreau, This is a very good essay on the GATS financial services provisions, especially their history and where they sit in the general GATS and WTO millieu. These additions to the GATS are of extreme relevance to anybody hoping to bring about any of the changes which US progressives want, which unfortunately have been locked down by the GATS, without the nation's ever having been informed. So if you are interested in those areas, "single pauer" (a tierless, national universal healthcare system, which is really the only way to gain sustainable universal healthcare within the GATS, - This requires we withdraw/modify relevant commitments via Article XXI) Also, banking, expansion of student loans, and loan forgiveness, free college, etc. Many things conflict with the new constraints GATS created.

The Trade, Investment and Competitiveness Implications of Unilateral Green Economic Pursuit (UNCTAD)

(NOTE: The creator of this site strongly disagrees with this approach to global economic integration) This PDF shows how trade in services (GATS) and procurement agreements such as the WTO "AGP" (or GPA) may likely block local green jobs programs in any countries that have made extensive commitments, due to restrictions against "local content requirements". This may mean that the "Green New Deal" could not be implemented under these FTAs without a withdrawing from the conflicting portions of these agreements entirely. Otherwise, going forward could have the exact opposite effect as desired with regard to local employment. It could actually decimate local employment in those areas. See Pages 11 and 12 in this document.

Liberalisation Of Trade in Services Corporate Power at Work (GATSWatch/TNI/CEO)

The United Kingdom is home to a particularly influential services industry lobby, which operates through an organisation called International Financial Services, London (IFSL). Two IFSL working groups, the Liberalisation of Trade in Services (LOTIS) Committee and the High-Level LOTIS Group, constitute a veritable corporate-state alliance.

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

Marion Panizzon Trumping over the US election campaign is also a visa dispute at the WTO. On trial stands a bill by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services to double application fees for H1-B visa. India brought its complaint before the WTO on March 2016, alleging that the US had breached its legally binding market access commitments. The US-India dispute could set a precedent if it were to confirm the WTO’s judicial competence over visa – traditionally considered a national prerogative.

Special and Differential Treatment under the GATS

Unclassified TD/TC/WP(2005)24/FINAL Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development 26-Jan-2006 Working Party of the Trade Committee SPECIAL AND DIFFERENTIAL TREATMENT UNDER THE GATS OECD Trade Policy Working Paper No. 26 by the Trade Policy Linkages Division of the OECD Trade Directorate

Liberalisation of Financial Services - by Stephen Woolcock

"Negotiations on a permanent agreement on financial services in the GATS are scheduled to be completed by mid December 1997. The prospects of success this year are better than in previous attempts in 1993 and 1995, but there is still much to do in a short time and still much work to be done. The current negotiations are shaped by compromises made during the Uruguay Round negotiations in order to get both developing country and US support for the approach adopted in the GATS. These compromises mean that there is no internal, liberalising dynamic in the negotiations. For the negotiations to succeed it is therefore necessary for all the key participants, which in the case of financial services effectively means some 30 WTO Members, to show the political will needed. "

"Next Generation" Trade and Investment Agreements: Upcoming Challenges for Public Services

This is an excellent recent presentation by a EU public services group about the attacks on public services in the EU by the trade agreements of countries like the US ('next generation' trade deals refers to US style negative list agreements which are particularly aggressive in privatizing and capturing public services, permanently (example, the US capture of healthcare around the globe by transnational corporations) ending public ownership and voter control over irreplaceable services and resources.. It shows the strategies which this global scheme, uses. Very much worth reading.

Human Trafficking and Slavery: Towards a New Framework for Prevention and Responsibility

By Dana S. Hathaway "Human trafficking and slavery are horrific crimes that require strict penalties for perpetrators and effective protections for survivors, but these crimes are in part facilitated by a system of laws and norms that effectively marginalize certain populations—the “unskilled” migrant. In this thesis I aim to reexamine and reinterpret the problem of human trafficking and slavery in a way that highlights the background conditions to the problem. - - - I argue that the framework used as a conceptual foundation for addressing the problem limits the scope of responsibility. Specifically, the framework fails to acknowledge structural contributing factors I show to be relevant: law, policy, and norms impacting immigration and migrant labor. I assert that the limited scope of responsibility, which focuses heavily on direct perpetrators of the crime, leaves largely unexamined the role of social-structural processes in contributing to the problem. I use the United States as a case study in order to provide a targeted analysis of social-structural processes that contribute to the problem. In this examination of the United States, I focus on agricultural and domestic slavery."

GATS and Financial Services: Redefining Borders

"The First Annex brings financial services into the GATS definition of trade in services. Services conducted by a governmental authority, including central bank functions, statutory schemes for social security and retirement funds, and other government activities are excluded from the definition of services provided that such government does not permit private sector competition in the relevant area.' Members are permitted to retain a "prudential carve-out." That is, measures created for prudential reasons such as the protection of either depositors or financial system integrity are permitted so long as such measures are not designed to defeat the commitments under GATS. As with NAFTA, the prudential carve-out may have important implications: it will be the basis to defend virtually all actions in the financial services sector that are the subject of a dispute."

United Nations (Service Sectors) Sectoral Classification List (W/120) This is the service sector list that the WTO GATS uses.

The services sectoral classification list (W/120) is a comprehensive list of services sectors and sub-sectors covered under the GATS. It was compiled by the WTO in July 1991 and its purpose was to facilitate the Uruguay Round negotiations, ensuring cross-country comparability and consistency of the commitments undertaken. The 160 sub-sectors are defined as aggregate of the more detailed categories contained in the United Nations provisional Central Product Classification (CPC). The list is also available at the WTO website at: http://tsdb.wto.org/Includes/docs/W120_E.doc

Certain U.S. Laws for Foreign Workers Draw Fire from India in the WTO

This is a Congressional Research Reports report (PDF) on the DS503 case. 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 quotas that limit the rate of increase in job outsourcing workers and GATS Mode 4 generally. It's only because of the quotas that far more jobs that can be, are not offshored. Professor Alan Blinder of Princeton found that 26% of all US jobs could be outsourced and offshored.

Biden, like Trump is not even remotely progressive

Both represent an attempt to legitimize a global capture scheme that is being forced upon us to legitimate itself. Be aware that neither could fulfill promises to their constituents that they are making, because all that policy space was taken off the table in the case of policy on services, 80% of a modern economy, by GATS, in the 90s.

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".

Some analyses of domestic regulation disciplines – compilation for MC11 (2017)

This is a recent analysis of proposed (by a number of countries) Disciplines on Domestic Regulation from Sanya Reid Smith of TWN, an NGO that has been involved in WTO matters for a long time. It was made before the recent WTO Ministerial Conference in Buenos Aires. You can see that its the WTO which is disciplining the countries domestic regulations. ------------------------------------------ Introduction Domestic regulation disciplines on services are being negotiated in a number of trade agreements including at the World Trade Organization (WTO), in the Trade in Services Agreement (TISA) 1 and in other free trade agreements (FTAs) such as the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) 2 and those being negotiated by the European Union (EU) 3 . It seems that domestic regulation disciplines (DRD) will also be negotiated at the Eleventh WTO Ministerial Conference (MC11) from 10-13 December 2017 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. 4 The European Union, Australia, New Zealand, Switzerland etc (‘EU et al’) released their DRD proposed text on 1 December 2017. 5 "These proposed DRD would restrict laws and regulations re services licensing etc, even non-discriminatory laws which apply to domestic and foreign companies equally. Yet, as United Nations Conference on Trade And Development (UNCTAD) staff note, services regulation is important for a number of reasons including: protecting consumers, ensuring universal access to essential services cultural diversity, quality, safety, correcting market failures (eg: information asymmetry where the service provider has more information than the consumer, natural monopolies, negative externalities (eg environmental degradation from transport) where those not directly involved suffer costs). 6 After highlighting that many regulatory frameworks are still at an emerging stage in developing countries the UNCTAD staff conclude that ‘it is key for developing countries that international rules for services trade preserve the right to regulate (RtR) and grant the necessary policy space to experiment in the search for those policies that best suit individual countries’ specific, developmental needs.’ Given this, the UNCTAD staff note that ‘one would expect developing countries to take a cautious, rather than an offensive approach towards the development of these disciplines, with their main goal to preserve the RtR.’ 7 This compilation includes excerpts from existing analyses of the same DRD proposed in the WTO or in TISA." ----------------------------------- Compiled by Sanya Reid Smith, Third World Network

The Necessity Test The following communication has been received from the delegation of Korea with the request that it be circulated to the Members of the Working Party on Domestic Regulation.

COMMUNICATION FROM THE REPUBLIC OF KOREA 1. There have been many constructive discussions on how to define the “necessity test” in the context of domestic regulation for trade in services. The proposals made by Canada, Australia, and EC have each contributed to stimulating and advancing the discussions in this area. However, as each proposal and relevant agreement uses different wording for outlining and defining the necessity test, there has been some confusion as to the exact meaning and implications of its use. 2. Korea is of the view that the different wording – such as “trade-restrictive” or “burdensome,” – despite some variance in nuance and focus, does not differ in their implications. This paper thus aims to clarify any differences that exist, elaborate on the possible alternatives that can be used, and suggest a draft provision for the necessity test that could be used in establishing multilateral rules for domestic regulation. 3. In the meantime, there still remain unresolved issues like what should be considered a “legitimate policy objective,” or what factors should be considered to determine the feasibility of an alternative measure. For an effective and strict application of the necessity test, these two issues need to be resolved. However, they will have to be discussed at another time.

Britons, GATS was the missing piece Jeremy Corbyn likely couldn't tell you about two months ago, Similarly with Bernie Sanders, it seems he won't tell us this missing piece either I really would rather not think that he'd rather let Biden win the Dem nomination and then lose to Trump. BTW, without leaving GATS, Biden cannot fix healthcare, his hands will be tied by GATS..

It explains the all important dirty 1990s deal that both leaders can't seem to get the heart to tell you both about,. Way back in the 1990s, both the Labour and Democratic Parties were run by neoliberals - and they and their oppositions joined together to sell both countries out.

Talking Disputes | The Argentina - Financial Services Dispute

This video shows how convoluted and technical the GATS is. This is not the kind of logic people want hijacking essential services like health insurance. Once its sold you can't give healthcare away. Its like a noose getting tighter and tighter. These deals are being snuck in under the radar, and a hell of a lot of people have been tricked by these tricks and also have died because of these tricks. And it ISN'T over. The carnage is just beginning.

Water in the age of coronavirus

As we confront the new global enemy SARS-COV-2, the availability of water will be a crucial determinant for a successful outcome in this war

The WTO Dispute Settlement System: An Analysis of India’s Experience and Current Reform Proposals

ORF Occasional Paper_209 - An analysis from India's perspective of the US's not allowing the operation of the Dispute Settlement Body, of course, preventing the settlement of the DS503 case, and possible loss of millions of US jobs to outsourcing "body shop" companies. Most of the US, EU, Australian, etc. workers who could be impacted have no idea that the WTO even has jurisdiction over services.

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

NOTE: Although the WTO dispute this article references, DS503 is relatively new (2016) this GATS scheme it is filed under is not new- (or due, or related to COVID-19) its been in place for more than two and a half decades, but partially held up/in planning for arguably more than three decades. Its just been acrimonious, with both sides so far able to agree unable to agree on terms in their scheme to overrule democracy that *required foreign involvement to enable the international aspect that allows GATS to ignore democracy*. The scheme has not only blocked a huge laundry list of progressive policies, for decades, it also trades away many kinds of high skill jobs, good jobs, IF foreign countries firms can do them for less. With wages so much lower than US workers are paid, its likely that they'd both do that and pocket huge profits, even if they literally offer three workers for the price of one as their pitch sometimes goes. (Ive received them, at various jobs) -------------------------- Please recognize the linked article's point of view, it states that countries only have the right to regulate "immigration" which in WTO-ese only includes people seeking PERMANENT residency in our country, not the growing numbers of temporary GATS Mode 3 and Mode 4 workers. They have jobs with an employer, such as a staffing company. What bothers me is this provides a pretext which is being used to silently gut wages and jobs.(GATS Mode 4 and GATS Mode 3 are making work of all kinds, precarious work- inserting a new layer of very highly paid middlemen, a change that potentially could eventually replace the world's middle class. a way of "precaritizing" more and more of the global workforce, disenfranchising both voters and earners, (by forcing more and more to cross borders and shed rights, to get jobs) pushing wages globally down to some hypothetical global average wage.

A Country in Denial, and not just about COVID-19

With our for-profit system being too expensive for the vast majority of Americans to afford without being bankrupted, due to very very high rates of uninsurance and underinsurance, a very great fear is that this COVID-19 epidemic will be the straw that breaks the camels back.

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.

"Its why US healthcare never gets fixed" A plea to Bernie Sanders and his campaign, to please tell the country about GATS

...because you must win and win big. And you wont be able to, without the national catharsis that telling people about this evil thing will bring about. Because GATS is the Rosetta Stone to our current political malignancies. A trade "agreement" from hell that has hijacked our government more than any other thing, ever. Its why US healthcare never gets fixed, and why we always have to get the worst deal of all, Its why our lives are being sacrificed, and its the thing, that should you win, that you will have to deal with first. To do anything in your platform, first we have to leave GATS and quite possibly the rest of the WTO, because they set up a huge phony debt in our names that we "Americans" are now expected to pay in our jobs. Obviously its a huge con job and your opponents are both in on it, they're pulling a major fast one on the country to deliver the goods to their buddies in the global oligarchy. Bernie, you need to stop being silent.

WTO GATS Glossary

This Public Citizen PDF includes a great deal of useful information on GATS, for example, how schedules are written.

Trade Liberalization and Universal Access to Education Services

"The exclusion therefore does not appear to apply to education services in cases where such services are provided on a non-commercial basis but which are supplied in competition with another service provider. Similarly, the exclusion would not appear to apply to education services that are supplied on a commercial basis even where these services are supplied in the absence of competition with any other service supplier. The exclusion would seem to apply only in those cases where education services are provided by completely non-commercial, absolute monopolies. In most countries, however, education services are normally supplied through a mixture of public and private suppliers, or frequently include certain commercial aspects. A strict reading of Article 1:3 would indicate that such services fall outside the exclusion. In any case, wherever uncertainties about the scope of the exclusion arise, the language will almost certainly be interpreted narrowly. The WTO Council for Trade in Services, for instance, has supported the view that even in the context of sensitive public service sectors such as health and social services, the exclusion “needed to be interpreted narrowly”. "Despite the significance of GATS coverage for education services, there are indications that some member governments may not fully appreciate the limited scope of the “governmental authority” exclusion. Many governments may not recognize that certain aspects of education services and their regulation are likely already subject to those GATS obligations that apply horizontally, including most-favoured-nation treatment and transparency."

Britons and (we) Americans need to know something. We have frustrated "expectancies" but increasingly, thanks to GATS, the proposed UK-US FTA, TISA and others, not any kind of real property interest in our nation's futures.

These agreements push our rights out of our future. They attempt to irreversibly gut public services like the UK's NHS and will most certainly totally block the proposed "Medicare For All" as well as procurement proposals that employ our nations workers if international temping firms bid on those jobs and win. So they will outsource millions of now stable jobs, turning them into entitlements of foreign firms to do, if they are cheaper. They replace legal immigration with temporary subcontracting and its likely that because our countries will be overwhelmed by corporate temporary migration, (GATS Mode 4) developed nations may turn against the one part of it we can control, permanent migration. So this corporate capture of migration will push out refugees and likely also temp workers possibility of permanent migration. It will also displace millions of workers in dozens of high skill service sectors, starting with professionals and fields like IT, nursing, teaching, engineering, etc, and then working its way downward, and undercut the wages of the remaining workers across the board.

Troubled Relationships under the GATS: Tensions between Market Access (Article XVI), National Treatment (Article XVII), and Domestic Regulation (Article VI)

"The General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) was adopted in order to establish meaningful liberalization rules, while preserving the right of Members to regulate. To that end, three provisions form the centerpiece of liberalization: market access (Article XVI GATS), national treatment (Article XVII GATS), and domestic regulation (Article VI GATS). Although these provisions contain different obligations, in certain conditions they can overlap. How this issue is resolved could undermine the delicate balance between liberalization and the right to regulate. As the GATS provides no guidance, the task of determining the applicable rules has been delegated to the World Trade Organization (WTO) adjudicating bodies. This paper examines how the three provisions have been interpreted, and analyzes the most applicable way to address the diversity of barriers to trade in services."

GATS: Increasing LDC participation through negotiated specific commitments (Art. IV:1) (United Nations)

This is about public procurement of both goods and services by governments at the federal, and increasingly, state or local level. One of the goals of the WTO Government Procuerment Agreement, as well as the GATS is allegedly to assist the poorest countries businesses by bending the rules for a limited time in their favor. Normally, in the case of jobs, the *lowest* bidder (who may not necessarily be a firm from the very poorest countries, it may instead be a highly automated firm or one from another low wage country, but not one of the poorest ones.) gets a legal entitlement to perform work. However under some limited circumstances, LDCs' firms (firms based in the very poorest countries) may be able to bid for contracts and win even if their price is a bit higher than the lowest bidders. (this is called a "set aside" in the US, where they had traditionally been used to funnel work to women and minority owned businesses. These kinds of set asides seem to be subsumed by the newer kind in trade agreements.) Note these dispensations like this LDC Services Waiver which gives the poorest countries opportunities to perform work in the wealthier countries, even if they charge a bit more are only available under limited circumstances and only to the (very poorest) "LDC" countries in order to assist in the policy goal of helping their firms enter the world's markets faster. Similar rules apply to allow the poorest countries access to life saving medicines in medical emergencies.

The Legal Nature of WTO Obligations and the Consequences of their Violation

The obligations deriving from participation in the World Trade Organization are never inherently indivisible or erga omnes in the sense elaborated by the International Court of Justice in the field of human rights. As a rule, remedies for violations of WTO obligations remain available only to the Member(s) whose international trade interests have been affected, in actual or potential terms. Nonetheless, contracting parties have decided to extend to a limited number of WTO obligations the legal regime of indivisible obligation and to consider immaterial for the purpose of resorting to the dispute settlement system the effects of their violations. WTO obligations, therefore, are not a monolithic bloc. They may be divided into two categories which are governed by different rules as far as legal standing and counter-measures are concerned. Depending on whether the obligation allegedly breached belongs to one or the other category, the nullification or impairment of benefits is presumed – but can be challenged – under Article 3(8) of the DSU or is entirely irrelevant. Furthermore, countermeasures are normally proportionate or equivalent to the nullification or impairment of the benefits of the complainant. In the case of WTO obligations treated as indivisible obligations, however, the effects of the violation are immaterial and the trade interests of the complainant may well be unaffected. As a result, counter-measures are to be permitted to the extent that they will effectively ensure compliance. Special problems may finally arise in the case of multiple applicants, especially when the countermeasures are authorized at different times.

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?

Global trade in patients is ramping up, could have trade agreement implications

Because of the GATS agreement. See "the Scope of GATS and its Obligations" also linked, here for some more info on the legal aspects of what is now called euphemistically "patient mobility" - Its covered under the GATS. The Agreement may lock in international trade in patients when it occurs, and its "not more burdensome than necessary" provisions forcing governments to allow and pay for the offshoring of poorer patients (and possibly prisoners) and blocking "Medicare For All" like systems, which would keep patients in their home countries. (unless single payer pre-existed the GATS agreement, like in Canada) See "patient mobility" and "Medical tourism" keywords.

A long discussion on the captured state (of affairs) for working people in the US, UK and a case in the WTO, DS503 that could pull the rug out from underneath developed country workers worldwide.

A few days ago I was reading British news where they were reporting on the expectations of Leave voters for what would be done with Brexit. It seemed so very far off the mark from what I knew was happening I almost wanted to scream. The same woeful situation exists in the US, where people who have everything to lose are gleefully voting for Biden and Trump clearly unaware of the agendas they represent. When my primary rolls around, I'm voting for Sanders, fully aware, however, unlike many people, I've been fully aware that Sanders signature issue(s) - 8single payer* *was officially "decided" by the WTO >20 years ago*. However, single pater, pure single payer is exempt from GATS so it could conceivably work, except for the little problem of it being 2020, not before the WTO existed, or perhaps the standstill may have even begun as early as the early 80s or formally, September 20, 1986. So frankly, the entire situation is bizarre and doesn't add up. That is unless you realize that the system is very close to 100% captured, Only then - it all makes perfect sense. What a major mess.