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Perilous Lessons: The Impact of the WTO Services Agreement (GATS) on Canada's Public Education System

Written for professionals and citizens alike, this book provides a primer on a little-known agreement within the World Trade Organization, the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS). It highlights the threats the treaty already poses and, using highly plausible scenarios, describes how it could undermine public education in the future. Trade policy specialists Matt Sanger and Jim Grieshaber-Otto dissect federal government efforts to reassure and mislead Canadians about the threats GATS poses to public education. They advocate specific changes to Canada's negotiating approach to safeguard our vital public education system. GATS "services" negotiations that are now underway in Geneva pose a significant danger to our public education system. Reading this book is a critical first step towards doing something about it.

Maine CTPC Health Care Subcommittee Draft Report on GATS barriers to state health care reforms

This report was prepared for the state of Maine by trade experts from Georgetown University. It shows some of the hidden traps faced by states that attempt to make it possible for the working poor to afford health insurance. The Health Care Subcommittee of the Maine Citizens Trade Policy Commission asked the Forum on Democracy & Trade to look at Maine’s health insurance programs in relation to U.S. commitments under international trade agreements, and specifically to identify potential conflicts or issues regarding Maine’s Dirigo Health Program with provisions of the WTO General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS). Here we focus specifically on Dirigo and GATS in order to enable the Maine CTPC to: Understand potential trade conflicts serious enough to bring to the attention of U.S. trade negotiators and the Congress Raise questions about the meaning of vague GATS provisions on coverage and trade rules that could improve the quality of state-federal consultation on trade policy Identify potential safeguards for Dirigo and similar state-level health programs.

Model clauses for the exclusion of public services from trade and investment agreements ( EPSU & Markus Krajewski)

This paper discusses how trade agreements could be modified in the EU to protect their existing public services from trade and investment agreements which are designed to tear them apart and privatize public services against the people's will, behind their backs. _______ Unfortunately the EU examples given are much less applicable to the US because we are trying to do something which we ourselves devoted a great deal of energy into preventing by creating the WTO, other economic governance organizations and making all these conditions binding on ourselves especially, which seem generally to only allow the poorest (LDC) countries to set up new public services and monopolies. Also look up "LDC Services Waiver" for a related issue involving the jobs.

Putting Health First - Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives

Canadian Health Care Reform, Trade Treaties and Foreign Policy - this essay describes the traps in the GATS agreement for Canadian health care, and it also would totally apply to a hypothetical US healthcare plan if it had prexisted the creation of the WTO. it also discusses 'carve outs' and why they are needed by Canada to protect their Medicare (public health care) from Trade Agreements put forward by countries like the US that try to destroy, and privatize them. Note: the situation of the Canadian system is different than the UK's as Canadian Healthcare is exempt from GATS, and the UK's public option the NHS like US's optional short term public experiments like the ACA are subject to the GATS privatization agreements progressive liberalization ratchet, etc. requirements. Unfortunately.

The Potential Impact of the World Trade Organization's General Agreement on Trade in Services on Health System Reform and Regulation in the United States. (2009)

In this 2009 paper, the late Nicholas Skala, explained the "GATS" agreement, its implications for US healthcare reform and why we urgently need to apply for and pursue a specific procedure (Article XXI) to withdraw from the GATS in order to avoid built in traps for the unwary, for example, to get single payer health care. This is all necessary because previous Administrations quite foolishly signed away our rights to regulate dozens of services including those relevant to healthcare financing and delivery (and many others, literally most of our economy) away in the GATS when we entered the WTO. Skala also explains how additions made to GATS in 1998 further prevented and hamstrung regulators, If they attempt to expand instead of deregulate existing social services without leaving GATS or formally modifying the US's "Schedule of Specific Commitments" using Art. XXI FIRST. (See 'Recommendations' section) Otherwise, we cannot improve anything and attempts to expand the Affordable Care Act will encounter numerous GATS provisions like "standstill" and "rollback", which are meant to protect foreign investors profits, locking them in at the Feb 1998 level. If a demand is made in the WTO, compel us to make cuts to restore that previous level of regulation. The level at the end of February 1998 is carved in stone as a regulatory ceiling we are not supposed to exceed. TISA also embeds the GATS dates apparently. GATS can also impact jobs and a newer agreement also globalizes procurement of services, requiring the opening of the economy to temp worker companies if they can provide services cheaper than US firms, potentially taking control over a very wide range of once public & quasi-public government funded and subsidized activities, unless they qualify for a very few, narrow exemptions, such as the 'governmental authority exclusion' defining what can be a 'public service'. (see that keyword on the left, below) If you only read a few papers on GATS on this site, make sure this is one and also read that keyword. Also see "explainer" tagged items.