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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

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."

The Least-Developed Countries Services Waiver: Any Alternative Under the GATS?

Despite the fact that least-developed countries (LDCs) constitute approximately 12 percent of the world’s population, they account for 0.5 percent of the world’s trade in commercial services. 1 LDCs have important disadvantages that prevent them from acquiring an adequate share of benefits from liberalization of trade in services. In this context, the suitability of the special and differential treatment provisions of the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) for the LDCs’ needs and of the flexibility of GATS architecture has been questioned. Article IV:3 of the GATS gives a mandate to negotiate mechanisms that could increase the participation of LDCs in the multilateral trade system. After more than ten years of negotiations, finally in December 2011, the Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization (WTO) approved a services waiver decision that allows developed and developing countries to depart from the most favored nation principle in order to grant preferential treatment for LDCs’ services and service suppliers. Therefore, this article first examines the legal scope of the LDCs services waiver, including the background of the waiver, the preferences covered, and the main conditions applying to these preferences. Then, the viability of the waiver’s implementation as a useful tool to boost LDCs’ participation in trade in services and engagement within the GATS is analyzed. The authors also examine whether the waiver has failed to fulfill its mains objectives, whether other alternatives exist.

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.

Celebrating Fair Trade in Cancun

This PDF flyer from 2003 was published by IATP and distributed during the WTO Ministerial in Cancun, Mexico. In just a few words it does a good job of explaing some key concepts about the WTO. It also introduces for beginners some of the core concepts of the concept of Fair Trade, a non-exploitative alternative to market totalitarianism.

2016 Bridges Article "G-7 Leaders Warn of "Brexit" Risks to Trade, Investment Ahead of June Vote"

I'm trying to help readers learn how to read between the lines here. Come on, you all can't be that naive. You have to teach yourself to think like an oligarch. Its not about you and your suffering, its about them and their money, their investments. The addiction to "Growth" is cited but in a way that's a cover up. What they want is to kill the hope that sprung up in the last century for a better tomorrow. Kill it and nail a stake into its heart. But they can't just say that. .

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.)

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".

TiSA - Foul Play

by Prof. Jane Kelsey (pub by UNI Global Union) This is an up to date overview of TISA and its global attack on public services of all kinds, as well as a strong, concise explanation of what its aims are. Creation of a global corporate superstate that limits the powers of nation states and by extension, all voters, all of humanity, to regulate even the most important sections of their economies. It's a must read on the extremely undemocratic TISA agreement.

AFSC's "Trade Matters" back issues (archive.org)

This is from the American Friends Service Committee, its a periodical they published up until a few years ago that I think did a very good job of framing some of the issues that make trade in services deals important to know about, controversial and difficult to discuss. (Archived so need to click one extra time to select a date)

2014 Story on St Louis TV station may have GATS lock-in implications

Midwestern TV channel does series on UK contractor "paying workers to do nothing" . Because the US made commitments under the GATS this may legally establish a binding entitlement under GATS to compensation, perhaps in jobs, because GATS is a one way street, unless a country is willing to pay for their policy freedom which gets more costly silently, when things like a foreign service provider entering a market happen.. I think this story may illustrate a big downside to GATS, or shall we say, a darker side to GATS.

British firm may have created a successful lock in of US healthcare policy, read story to understand how scary this kind of corporate lock-in is.

It was a mystifying story. In 2014, a Midwestern TV station - in response to a viewer tip, reported on a mysterious warehouse of contractors of a controversial British firm who were allegedly "being paid to do nothing". Even though its existing workforce were literally going crazy from not having enough work to do, the company hired more people. Here we are also going to discuss the concept of "moral hazard" and governments, a discussion that has nothing to do with any particular company.

Trade Liberalization & Women’s Reproductive Health

Women often are charged with the responsibility of caring for their families’ health, education and nutrition, and they often supplement, or earn the entirety of, the family’s income, and provide household labor to maintain upkeep of their homes. The liberalization of international trade increasingly affects women’s health by creating new opportunities to improve reproductive health as well as new obstacles to advance reproductive/sexual health and rights objectives in policies, programs and services. New employment opportunities may open up for women, for example, which may enable them to achieve higher income levels and greater access to health services and technology. However, trade liberalization also may lead to higher costs of health services and supplies, lower quality of services, shortages of critical medical personnel because of increased migration or a concentration of health services that may restrict access for lower-income or remote populations

When do human rights violate corporate rights? Why, in the GATS of course.

"How Close Will GATS Get to Human Rights? Similarly to the UN considering gross human rights violations a threat to peace, the WTO should consider certain human rights violations an impediment to free trade. Mutually agreed benefits of trade liberalization may be offset when a human rights infringement nullifies and impairs the multilaterally agreed level of tariff concessions or the negotiated volume of market access commitments in services. The liberalization of services trade through mode 4, whereby the service supplier moves abroad to deliver a service, relies on the free movement of natural persons. This mode of service delivery renders the GATS the WTO covered agreement with the closest affinity to the individual as a subject of international law and therefore, to human rights. Restricting the human rights of foreign service suppliers therefore could have the effect of nullifying and impairing the economic value and legal predictability of the GATS commitments. The WTO Agreements lack the legal basis for prosecuting human rights violations. While WTO Members are bound to respect jus cogens human rights, the non-jus cogens human rights originating in customary international law usually do not raise trade issues relevant enough to question the consistency with a provision of the WTO Agreements. It is suggested that the non-violation nullification and impairment complaints may be used to consider the economic damage which occurs when human rights infringements impair upon GATS commitments, specifically in those cases where the WTO Members receiving services condition their mode 4 commitments to the respect for core labour standards. If the human right amounts to jus cogens or emanates from a human rights treaty to which both parties to a WTO dispute are Members, the human right itself forms the ground of a WTO violation complaint. In all other cases, it is not the human rights violation itself, but its effect that is the economic damage on the sending country's economy, which nullifies and impairs a trade benefit." Keywords: Human Rights, Labour Mobility, GATS, Annex on Movement of Natural Persons Supplying Services under the Agreement, International Convention on the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families, Schedule of Specific Commitments, non-violation nullification and impairment

UNCTAD's inputs to the UN's Secretary-General report on the global compact for safe, orderly and regular migration

(Note: they make arguments in the following text that I think are likely fallacious, basically the claims that the so called multilateral trading system is preferable to its absence as far as services go. ) "Trade and services elements of a global compact for safe, orderly and regular migration Trade and the trading system address root causes of mobility of people as they contribute to poverty reduction(not really true at all, unless you mean making the rich richer), regional stability and security and thus to the promotion of migration as a choice.(if people want to advance they have traditionally moved, these changes basically change where the money of overseas workers ends up, reducing their pay, inserting new middlemen, funneling it to large firms brokering their temporary labor) Along with cooperative arrangements, they can also provide the tools to better migration governance, (corporate capture of migration might be a better term) promoting the recognition of qualifications and with the potential to support, for example, the portability of earned benefits. This twofold linkage of trade and migration can be enabled by international trade related policies that can enhance the effects on economic growth thus being of relevance to a holistic approach to address the drivers of migration. Services trade through the temporary movement of natural persons, or mode 4 of supplying services- 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 -, relates even closely to regional and international migration as a sub-set concerning temporary migration. It is particularly important in professional and business services, as well in services related to agriculture, manufacturing and mining. In particular, the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) article VI.4 envisages the establishment of disciplines, based on objective and transparent criteria, to ensure that measures relating to qualification requirements and procedures, technical standards and licensing requirements do not constitute unnecessary barriers to trade in services, including temporary mobility of persons."

Migration, Precarization and the Democratic Deficit in Global Governance

Migrants make up a disproportionate part of the social category whose experience in the world of work is marked by “precarity” in terms of informal labour, wage squeeze, temporariness, uncer- tainty and pernicious risk. They belong to the most disadvantaged among a globally growing workforce of casual labour which has come to be called the “precariat”. This, in spite of vast differences in local situations, is currently one of the greatest social and political challenges: to governments, to multilateral organizations, to trade unions and to broader social justice and human rights movements across the world. It is a predicament of the present that takes us well beyond the conventional understanding of North and South, West and East. “Precarity” has currently gained importance in critical labour and citizenship studies in general, and in studies on migration, in particular. Its coining is ascribed to Bourdieu (1963). It epitomizes the nexus of precarious labour and truncated citizenship (e.g. Vosko, 2009; Anderson, 2010; Goldring. 2011).Yet the meaning that precarity conveys in a range of contemporary critical studies is not “social exclusion”, seen as due to redeemable institutional shortcomings, but a “constitutive ele- ment of the new global disorder, to which it is very functional”. (Ricceri, 2011: 68). As such it represents an institutionally embedded hegemonic norm embodying market driven imperatives of “flexibility”, “availability”, “multilocality” and compressed “mobility” across time and space, with “the migrant” as its quintessential incarnation (Tsianos, 2007: 192). But “precarity” – together with its offshoot, the “precariat” – is, equally, adopted as a self-ascribed emblem by contemporary social movements questioning the premises of this very norm. Talking the talk of “precarity” has become regular parlance in political and scientific debates on and through labour and social justice movements concerned with the rights of migrants. There are indications that a global movement is afoot, speaking with or on behalf of millions of migrant “precarians”. This is part of the wider alter-globalization movement, which is developing in tandem with and at the same time contesting neoliberal globalization by emphasizing instead “human rights” and the participatory role of civil society in a democratized global governance of migration (Liki c-Brbori c and Schierup, 2012, [2010]).

Whistleblowing in a Foreign Key: The Consistency of Ethics Regulation Under Sarbanes-Oxley with the WTO Gats Provisions

By Stewart M. Young - United States Attorney's Office - District of Utah Abstract This Article discusses the consistency of the legal regime established by the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, and the ethical regulations proposed by the SEC, in relation to the legal services portion of the World Trade Organization's (WTO) General Agreement on Trades in Services (GATS). It discusses the GATS and its effect on the legal services market in general. It then examines how the ethics commitments in the United States Schedule of Commitments to GATS are treated. It examines the new ethical responsibility requirements imposed by the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and the subsequent proposals by the SEC. It concludes by demonstrating that the ethical requirements imposed by the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and the SEC are not consistent with the United States' obligations under GATS regarding legal services. This Article also discusses possible approaches to reconciling the proposed rules with GATS and action that might be taken by WTO member countries, including under the dispute resolution provisions of the WTO agreements. The ultimate conclusion of this Article is that the SEC-proposed standards as applied to nondomestic law firms are potentially irreconcilable with GATS, and likely to create friction between the United States and a number of our trading partners. The most important purpose of this Article is to analyze the inconsistency of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and the proposed SEC rules with GATS. Second, this Article can be read as a case study for the domestic imposition of ethical standards on the trade in services and legal services field in general. Third, this Article will potentially add fuel to the fire for implementing international ethical standards in certain global service industries, including the legal services field in particular. Keywords: Sarbanes-Oxley, SEC, World Trade Organization, WTO, General Agreement on Trade in Services, GATS, ethics regulation

Trade in Higher Education Services: The Implications of GATS - Dr. Jane Knight (UNESCO)

"Trade in higher education services is a billion dollar industry, including recruitment of international students, establishment of university campuses abroad, franchised provision and online learning. The General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) is currently being negotiated under the auspices of the World Trade Organisation (WTO). GATS is designed to increase trade liberalisation internationally, and includes ‘education’ as a service sector. Examples of perceived ‘barriers’ in the trade in higher education services might include visa restrictions, taxation that disadvantages foreign institutions and accreditation arrangements that privilege domestic institutions and qualifications. Some view GATS as a positive force, accelerating the influx of private and foreign providers of higher education into countries where domestic capacity is inadequate. Other take a more negative view, concerned that liberalisation may compromise important elements of quality assurance and permit private and foreign providers to monopolise the best students and most lucrative programmes. Many aspects of GATS are open to interpretation, and many nations have yet to fully engage in the process, at least in respect of the potential implications for education. In this report, Dr Jane Knight of the University of Toronto, an expert in the internationalisation of higher education, sets out a clear overview of the GATS agenda, and considers a wide range of issues that may affect developing and developed countries".

Four modes of WTO

slideshow explaining the four modes - a key concept to understanding how services trade is scheduled.

Municipalities and citizens movement defeat anti-democratic EU directive

"Trade unions and other social movements, city councilors, municipalities, regional councils and even some governments can now claim victory over a proposal tabled by the European Commission in January 2017. - The proposed Notification Procedure directive would have given the Commission veto powers over rules and regulations tabled in the area of services, and it has been clear from the beginning, that it would affect areas such as child care, public services, city planning and labour rights at all levels of government – from the very local to the national level. In a vast and sensitive area of the economy, the Commission claimed the right to scrutinize draft laws well before they were adopted, to change them and to have them repealed should they be adopted in a form not in sync with strict market disciplines."

How ‘free trade’ & investment treaties attack public services & why we have to fight them

by Prof. Jane Kelsey 1980s neoliberal greed took over the world • Structural adjustment – SAPs - at home • Global rules to push it further and faster, then lock it in New version of colonisation affected all countries, North and SouthTNCs targetted services as new source of mega-profits For public sector workers this means ongoing ... Job losses Insecure employment Deunionisation and labour market ‘flexibility’ Loss of protections & entitlements Added costs, but lower incomes Migration for remittances

GATS and Congress

These are the services that are regulated by GATS. "Health insurance" and many more. "These are the hot button issues of our time".

OECD Services Trade Restrictiveness Index - Regulatory database

This is the index hosted by the OECD (one of several indices of trade restrictiveness) that countries can use to consult if their services regulations comply with "Minimal Trade Restrictiveness" rules that limit what a country can regulate. For example, WTO rules require that measures (basically all national laws, regulations or policies, at the federal, state or local level ) be 'not more burdensome (on corporations) than necessary to ensure the quality of the service'.

The General Agreement On Trade In Services: Implications For Health Policymakers (Health Affairs)

The General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS), created under the auspices of the World Trade Organization, aims to regulate measures affecting international trade in services—including health services such as health insurance, hospital services, telemedicine, and acquisition of medical treatment abroad. The agreement has been the subject of great controversy, for it may affect the freedom with which countries can change the shape of their domestic health care systems. We explain the rationale behind the agreement and discuss its scope. We also address the major controversies surrounding the GATS and their implications for the U.S. health care system

The General Agreement On Trade In Services: Implications For Health Policymakers (Health Affairs)

The General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS), created under the auspices of the World Trade Organization, aims to regulate measures affecting international trade in services—including health services such as health insurance, hospital services, telemedicine, and acquisition of medical treatment abroad. The agreement has been the subject of great controversy, for it may affect the freedom with which countries can change the shape of their domestic health care systems. We explain the rationale behind the agreement and discuss its scope. We also address the major controversies surrounding the GATS and their implications for the U.S. health care system

TISA Troubles

This study, co-published with the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation, examines the adverse impacts on public services and public interest regulation of the little-known Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA), quietly being negotiated in Geneva by a group of 23 governments, including Canada. Senior CCPA trade researcher Scott Sinclair argues that under the guise of expanding international trade in services, TiSA will make it much harder for governments to regulate vital services such as energy, water, banking, transport and online services. The agreement is also designed to pry open public services to commercial involvement. While this agenda may suit the commercial interests of the transnational corporations behind the secretive TiSA negotiations, it will not serve the broader public interest.