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WTO knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men: TRIPS strikes again "Before 1995, drug companies were required to sell drugs funded with public money at a reasonable price. Under the Clinton administration, that changed."

"Before 1995, drug companies were required to sell drugs funded with public money at a reasonable price. Under the Clinton administration, that changed." Here they are hiding (WTO) GATS and TRIPS caused dysfunction. Repeating a big lie that Clinton care was an attempt to fix healthcare, when GATS was really rigging it so it could not be fixed. Both parties participated in this huge theft and most likely are still cooperating today to hide it. Just remember TRIPS caused 10 million deaths from AIDS not long ago. Jacking up, way up the prices of cheap to manufacture drugs (less than $0.33 - a day ) through the sky is essential to a global aim of debt slavery and dare I say it, no I better not. Its an unspeakably horrible thing. --------------------------------------------- "Then in 2000, Sanders authored and passed a bipartisan amendment in the House to reimpose the “reasonable pricing” rule. In the Senate, a similar measure was pushed by the late Paul Wellstone of Minnesota." ------------------------------------------ “Many in Congress find it hard to argue with Sanders’ line that ‘Americans must pay twice for life-saving drugs, first as taxpayers to develop the drug and then as consumers to pad pharmaceutical profits,’” Nature wrote at the time." ---------------------------------------------------- "Then-Sen. Joe Biden of Delaware voted to table Wellstone’s amendment, and it was defeated 56-39." -------------------------------------------------- And this game goes on to this day. HOW STUPID WE ARE. the rest of the world knows exactly whats going on, but thanks to a 100% complicit, corprate media, we still don't. the WTO has taken over Read "global economic governance" in the Glossary. This is why the two Presidential candidates we are being presented with are both totally unacceptable. Its all a big lie. WTO rules the issue now so guess what, they will pretend to disagree again and again and never fix ANYTHING. How could they, its been taken out of their hands! They have rigged everything, including drug pricing (via the TRIPS agreement) and health insurance, via GATS.. Buy or Die.

Novel coronavirus and central nervous system.

An outbreak of a novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) that emerged in Wuhan has rapidly spread throughout China and has now become a global public health concern. As of the early March, a total of 100,000 cases have been confirmed in multiple countries. Clinical characteristics of 2019-nCoV that respiratory symptoms, such as cough, are the most common.[1] This is consistent with the finding that the majority of patients are virus-positive in nasopharyngeal and oropharyngeal swabs suggesting it mainly invades and infects the respiratory system, a hypothesis supported by pathological data.[2] In addition, it has been reported that patients' stool has tested positive for 2019-nCoV, indicating that the virus could spread from the respiratory tract to the digestive tract, or that individuals could be infected via the faecal-oral route. However, the neuroinvasive potential of 2019-nCoV remains poorly understood. PMID: 32216009 DOI: 10.1111/ene.14227

Foreign Free Riders and the High Price of US Medicines

We can find no evidence to support the widely believed claims from industry that lower prices in other industrialised countries do not allow companies to recover their R&D costs; so they have to charge Americans more to make up the difference and pay for these "foreign free riders." We also explain why the claims themselves contradict the economic nature of the pharmaceutical industry. The latest report from the UK Pharmaceutical Price Regulation Scheme shows that drug companies in the United Kingdom invest more of their revenues from domestic sales in research and development than do companies in the US. Prices in the UK are much lower than those in the US yet profits remain robust. Companies in other countries also manage to recover their research and development costs, maintain high profits, and sell drugs at substantially lower prices than in the US. For example, in Canada the 35 companies that are members of the brand name industry association report that income from domestic sales is, on average, about 10 times greater than research and development costs. They have profits higher than makers of computer equipment and telecommunications carriers despite prices being about 40% lower than in the US.

UPDATED WITH WARNING: French study shows hydroxychloroquine sulfate, for 10 days + azithromycin clears 97% of patients of virus. But may cause potentially dangerous cardiac arrhythmia if not taken under close supervision by MDs.

(Note: This drug may cause cardiac arrhythmia!) Both of these drugs are only available with a prescription and should only be taken under a doctors supervision. ---In the French study, patients were given a combination of 200 milligrams of oral hydroxychloroquine sulfate, three times a day for 10 days, combined with azithromycin. Five hundred milligrams of the (azithromycin) was given to patients on day one, followed by 250 milligrams per day over the next four days. Virus cultures taken from patient’s respiratory samples were negative in 97.5 percent of patients at day 5, allowing the rapid discharge of patients from highly contagious hospital wards, the researchers wrote in the study. This is this French infectious disease institute's second study of this two drug combination.

Many US cities may be worse than Wuhan.

Officials who cannot deal with the mess they have created by our corporations first healthcare policy and do what it takes to prevent this nationally, especially in the least affluent areas, should step down. Every life is valuable.

Trump's Indadequate Response

Mr. Trump is known for undermining scientists, institutions and the media. He shut down the White House National Security Council’s entire global health security unit in 2018, an error that is perhaps going to cost him dearly now. He can only sincerely hope that “one day, it’s like a miracle, it will disappear”.

Drug Companies Will Make a Killing From Coronavirus Unless we fix the system, American taxpayers will get gouged on a vaccine they paid to produce.

Opinion Drug Companies Will Make a Killing From Coronavirus Unless we fix the system, American taxpayers will get gouged on a vaccine they paid to produce. By Mariana Mazzucato and Azzi Momenghalibaf Ms. Mazzucato is a professor at University College London and the author of “The Value of Everything.” Ms. Momenghalibaf is a senior program officer at the Open Society Public Health Program. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/18/opinion/coronavirus-vaccine-cost.html

CDC: Severe Outcomes Among Patients with Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) — United States, February 12–March 16, 2020

What this tells us is that nobody is immune from getting COVID-19 and potential hospitalization, which in the US is astronomically expensive. "California on Tuesday reported the first death in the United States of a Covid-19 patient younger than 18, and the family of a 12-year-old in Georgia said Sunday she was on a ventilator and fighting for her life in an Atlanta hospital. There also have been "concerning reports from France and Italy" about young people becoming seriously ill, "and very seriously ill in the ICUs," said Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House's coronavirus reponse coordinator, last week. There are now more than 52,000 cases of the virus in the United States. At least 680 people had died as of Tuesday afternoon." (Source CNN)

Trudy Lieberman on the Affordable Care Act

She discusses the excellent, now again paywalled Wrong Prescription article she wrote for Harpers in 2015, approximately halfway through the ten year period for GATS-nonconforming measures. I.e the "Affordable Care Act" . (Subsidies in GATS are strangely hard to find hard and fast information about, but its clear that nonconforming measures must not last indefinitely. This is rigid WTO ideology. I want to put out there that the ACA was doomed from the start by this ideology (and the standstill in the Understanding on Commitments in Financial Services) that the two parties must have agreed to choreograph its creation and demise, similarly to the theatrical choreography which Ms. Lieberman also wrote about involving Clinton Care and Clinton Lite back in the 1990s. (at approximatly the same time, GATS which cut off our ability to have real affordable care was being negotiated in the run up to the Marrakesh Agreement. So the Clinton care events here were a cover up, clearly. As somebody who has known many narcissists, I know that manipulating other people and human lives is basically fun for them, they consider it fun. A game. I hope people consider this - that we're almost certainly being manipulated costing us all a great many lives. This is not acceptable on the eve of a pandemic.

The Virus Can Be Stopped, but Only With Harsh Steps, Experts Say

Scientists who have fought pandemics describe difficult measures needed to defend the United States against a fast-moving pathogen. "If it were possible to wave a magic wand and make all Americans freeze in place for 14 days while sitting six feet apart, epidemiologists say, the whole epidemic would sputter to a halt. The virus would die out on every contaminated surface and, because almost everyone shows symptoms within two weeks, it would be evident who was infected. If we had enough tests for every American, even the completely asymptomatic cases could be found and isolated. The crisis would be over."

US has potential of becoming coronavirus epicentre, says WHO

WHO spokeswoman Margaret Harris said in Geneva there had been a "very large acceleration" in coronavirus infections in the United States which had the potential of becoming the new epicenter. Over the past 24 hours, 85 percent of new cases were from Europe and the United States, she told reporters. Of those, 40 percent were from the United States. Asked whether the United States could become the new epicenter, Harris said: "We are now seeing a very large acceleration in cases in the U.S. So it does have that potential. We cannot say that is the case yet but it does have that potential." ------------------------------------------- (Source: VOA https://www.voanews.com/science-health/coronavirus-outbreak/us-could-become-coronavirus-epicenter-who-says )

Gilead Outrageously Seeks Super-Monopoly Protections for Covid-19 Drug remdesivir

Statement of Peter Maybarduk, Director, Public Citizen’s Access to Medicines Program Note: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today granted experimental COVID-19 treatment remdesivir a special orphan status intended for drugs that treat rare diseases. The status sets up remdesivir’s manufacturer Gilead Sciences to receive additional federal tax credits in the United States and a bonus lucrative seven-year market exclusivity, allowing Gilead to exclude generic and more affordable competition while charging high monopoly prices, if the drug is approved. Gilead’s pursuit of an orphan designation is unconscionable and could be deeply harmful. Remdesivir is one of relatively few medicines that may prove effective in treating COVID-19 this year. The government should be urgently concerned with its affordability for citizens. Instead, the FDA has handed Gilead, one of the most profitable pharmaceutical corporations on earth, a long and entirely undeserved seven-year monopoly and with it, the ability to charge outrageous prices to consumers. Gilead has gamed the system by rushing through its “rare disease” orphan drug application while there are, for this brief moment, fewer than 200,000 COVID-19 U.S. cases. Its action is disingenuous and outrageous, and underscores the need for the federal government to step in.

WTO Members agree on ways to boost LDC participation in services negotiations

“By agreeing on ways for providing special priority to LDCs in the services negotiations, WTO Members continue to put into action the overarching commitment in the Doha Development Agenda,”said WTO Director-General Dr Supachai Panitchpakdi. “This agreement is a timely boost to LDC participation in these negotiations as Members intensify their bilateral market access bargaining.” “We consider the negotiations on services as of prime importance to the LDC group,” said H.E. Dr Toufiq Ali, Ambassador of Bangladesh, speaking on behalf of the 30 LDC Members of the WTO, at the Special Session of the Council for Trade in Services. “There are numerous estimates that indicate that the potential benefit of free trade in services may be several times that of free trade in goods.” He emphasised that the most important means of supplying services was through “the export of services supplied by less skilled persons”, estimating that “a temporary visa scheme that amounts to no more than 3 per cent of the OECD labour force would yield economic benefits for both developed and developing countries equivalent to almost US$150-200 billion.”

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.

Natasha Ott, 39, suddenly dies in New Orleans with COVID-19 symptoms

A 39-year-old woman in the US died suddenly with coronavirus symptoms before her COVID-19 test results were released. Natasha Ott, from New Orleans, was found dead in her kitchen by her partner on Friday (local time) after she began feeling sick on March 10. She had been in "good health" up until her illness. She was sent home from work when she first felt ill, but she was deemed "low-risk" and wasn't initially tested for the disease, her partner Josh Anderson wrote in a Facebook post. ______________________________________________________________ Update: More at: https://www.nola.com/news/coronavirus/article_bdc4e802-6b90-11ea-a747-832e94bc7f56.html ------------------------------- and https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/us-news/social-worker-39-found-dead-21733075 -------------------------------------------------------- Why aren't they beginning empirical treatment with antivirals immediately? in order to prevent the disease escalating to this very serious pneumonia.

Total Cost of Uninsured Woman's COVID-19 Treatment: $34,927.43

She was uninsured. It appears that she didn't even spend any time in an ICU, she received outpatient care in an emergency room. Wouldn't it be great if we had Medicare for All? Except there is one little problem, both candidates, Biden and Trump- unless Bernie pulls off a miracle would veto it. There is a really simple reason for that. WE SIGNED AWAY THE RIGHT TO REGULATE HEALTH INSURANCE MORE THAN 20 YEARS AGO in the GATS agreement, part of the WTO, but the country never got the memo!

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

ICU beds already near capacity with non-coronavirus patients at L.A. County hospitals

ICU beds at Los Angeles County hospitals are already at or near capacity, prompting worries of shortages ahead of expected coronavirus surge By MATT STILES, IRIS LEE MARCH 20, 20204:27 PM Intensive care beds at Los Angeles County’s emergency-room hospitals are already at or near capacity, even as those facilities have doubled the number available for COVID-19 patients in recent days, according to newly released data obtained by The Times. Fewer than 200 ICU beds were available Wednesday, with most ICU beds occupied by non-coronavirus patients, according to the data which covers the roughly 70 public and private hospitals in Los Angeles County that receive emergency patients. The figures, which haven’t been disclosed previously, offer the first real-time glimpse of capacity levels at hospitals from Long Beach to the Antelope Valley and raise fresh worries that the hospital system, which is already strained by shortages, could soon run short of beds. “I am very concerned. We have a limited number of ICU beds available in L.A. County,” said Supervisor Janice Hahn, who urged residents to heed social-distancing orders to reduce infection rates and strain on medical resources. “I would like to begin exploring every possible solution to increase the capacity of our hospital system, including building pop-up hospital sites.” The anticipated surge of coronavirus patients is setting off a scramble to increase capacity of all types of beds, some of which could be converted to ICU units, according to county health officials. To accomplish that, hospitals are halting elective services to open up more space, and are considering other plans to expand capacity, including converting existing space or erecting tents. That effort shows in the figures, with the number of beds overall nearly doubling in the last several days — from 624 on March 13 to 1,182 as of Wednesday. That change includes an increase of ICU beds, which have more equipment and a higher staff-to-patient ratio, from 85 to 191, according to the figures. Christina Ghaly, a physician who directs the county’s vast system of providers, clinics, and hospitals known as the Department of Health Services, said hospitals can add ICU beds by converting existing space. That entails equipping beds with special equipment and adding personnel and, in some cases, getting approval from state regulators. Rooms could also be opened in non-emergency room hospitals, which aren’t included in the current figures. “The hospitals across the entire county are working very hard to free up capacity, and also to create capacity,” said Ghaly. County officials stressed that the figures represent the current staffing needs by hospitals, which have a greater “surge” capacity as more patients get sick. She said they are also asking state officials to fast-track additional capacity. But despite the progress, as many as 90% percent of licensed ICU beds are already occupied with patients who have suffered other medical emergencies, such as heart attacks, car accidents and other cases, according Ghaly said.

Is media spinning that U.S." is about to cripple the World Trade Organization’s dispute-settling system" true? Not in the way they want us to think it.

Example of the spin: "Dec 9, 2019 "The governance of international trade is on track to suffer serious damage this week as the United States carries out a long-standing threat to cripple the World Trade Organization’s system for settling disputes. The WTO’s Appellate Body, which adjudicates on contested rulings over disputes between member countries, will become unable to function when Washington exercises a veto and blocks new judges from being appointed to replace two whose terms of office are expiring......"

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.

Labor Mobility-by Sherry Stephenson and Gary Hufbauer

In international services trade, labor mobility is conceptualized as the temporary movement of natural persons and is categorized as mode 4. Article I.2 (d) of the WTO General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) defines mode 4 as the 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.” A natural person of another member is defined as a natural person who resides in the territory of that other Member or any other Member, and who under the law of that other Member: (i) is a national of that other Member; or (ii) has the right of permanent residence in that other Member . . .” (Article XVIII[k])

Substantial undocumented infection facilitates the rapid dissemination of novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV2)

"Estimation of the prevalence and contagiousness of undocumented novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV2) infections is critical for understanding the overall prevalence and pandemic potential of this disease. Here we use observations of reported infection within China, in conjunction with mobility data, a networked dynamic metapopulation model and Bayesian inference, to infer critical epidemiological characteristics associated with SARS-CoV2, including the fraction of undocumented infections and their contagiousness. We estimate 86% of all infections were undocumented (95% CI: [82%–90%]) prior to 23 January 2020 travel restrictions. Per person, the transmission rate of undocumented infections was 55% of documented infections ([46%–62%]), yet, due to their greater numbers, undocumented infections were the infection source for 79% of documented cases. These findings explain the rapid geographic spread of SARS-CoV2 and indicate containment of this virus will be particularly challenging."

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

Essential article on DS-503 WTO dispute that could drastically impact the size of the middle class in the US and in many other countries all around the world. (by reducing its size due to large scale job outsourcing) Would also lower the wages across the board for workers. Would heavily impact public services. GATS 'movement of natural persons' (Mode Four) and its Mode Three are the most controversial parts of the longstanding trade deal because they attempt to create new rights to which seem to allow companies bypassing national labor laws. This case could take intra-company cross border labor for work- "non-immigrant" temporary migration to work out of hands of governments and put it in the hands of the WTO. The US is a test case and the decision might be binding on many other countries as well. Could dramatically lower wages for many professions at all skill levels, from professional to fairly basic. Any job that has been the subject of GATS commitments in a country, which are very broad. In the US could easily impact tens of millions of jobs cutting many careers short. Even with visa quotas IT has already been greatly impacted, leaving many workers struggling to find work. Situation is likely to get much much worse if the WTO panel decides in India's favor. Indian-affiliated "US" IT firms are notorious for not hiring US workers, even US workers with Indian backgrounds. They want dis-empowered workers whose status in the US depends on their job. This is a very bad situation that could become the norm in dozens of high employment fields. Might cause extreme loss of trust in government, a shift we might not recover from.

Indian Company Offers to Supply AIDS Drugs at Low Cost in Africa (New York Times, Feb. 7, 2001)

(This is the story depicted in the Fire in the Blood film) By Donald G. McNeil Jr. In a move that could force big drug multinationals to cut the prices of their AIDS drugs in poor countries, an Indian company offered today to supply triple-therapy drug ''cocktails'' for $350 a year per patient to a doctors' group working in Africa. The Indian company, Cipla Ltd. of Bombay, a major manufacturer of generic drugs, made the offer to Doctors Without Borders, which won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1999 for its work in war-torn and impoverished areas. In Africa the group sets up small pilot programs to develop models for broader approaches to combat AIDS, and would distribute the Cipla drugs free. As part of its program, Cipla would also sell the drugs to larger government programs for $600 a year per patient, about $400 below the price offered by the companies that hold the patents. ''This is the way to break the stranglehold of the multinationals,'' said Dr. Yusuf K. Hamied, chairman of Cipla, who will meet with the doctors' group on Feb. 15 to discuss strategy. For two years, Doctors Without Borders has led an aggressive campaign to force multinationals to cut prices on life-saving drugs for the world's poorest patients. Other parties in the campaign are the Philadelphia and Paris chapters of the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power, and the Consumer Project on Technology, a Washington group started by Ralph Nader. The normal cost of the AIDS cocktail in the West is $10,000 to $15,000 a year. Last May five multinationals, backed by the World Health Organization and other United Nations agencies, offered to sell their components to poor nations at sharply reduced prices. But Cipla and other makers of generic drugs in Brazil, Thailand and other countries have not been part of the talks with W.H.O., a situation that Cipla hopes to change with its aggressive entry onto the scene. The country-by-country negotiations about how the multinationals distribute the drugs have gone slowly, and so far only Uganda, Senegal and Rwanda have agreements. The companies refuse to release figures, but the cost of a typical cocktail in Senegal is $1,000 a year, according to Doctors Without Borders. Dr. Bernard Pecoul, director of the Access to Essential Medicines project for Doctors Without Borders, said the Cipla offer, which he learned of only today, ''will let us start up our pilot projects on a larger scale.'' The doctors' group has 40 AIDS projects around the world, about half in Africa, where the infection rate reaches as high as 36 percent. Only five of these pilot programs are giving out antiretroviral cocktails. With the Cipla offer, or matching ones from other companies, up to 20 could be distributing the drugs by the end of year. Cipla is offering to sell the agency as many doses as it is wants at $350 a year. Dr. Hamied said that his company would lose money at that price, but that he would supply ''10,000 doses or 20,000 or 30,000, however many they want.'' The $600 price to governments is near Cipla's break-even point, he said, but costs could drop with greater production. If that happens, he would cut prices further. In India he sells the same cocktail for about $1,100 a year. But he denied that he was trying to grab market share in Africa. ''What do I want with market share?'' he asked. ''I don't have a monopoly, and the only way to make real money in drugs is with a monopoly. In this disaster, there is room for everybody.'' Wide distribution of the drugs in Africa is not without critics, given the attendant need for careful monitoring. Some experts argue that it would be better to spend the money on providing clean water, controlling malaria and increasing the use of condoms. But Doctors Without Borders says that the dangers and side effects of the drugs pale beside the immensity of the epidemic itself, and that Western testing standards are overcautious. The typical AIDS cocktail is a combination of any three of about nine protease inhibitors or reverse transcriptase inhibitors. The chemicals suppress the human immunodeficiency virus but, as with any chemical therapy, they are toxic and can damage the liver. In the West, doctors carefully monitor the levels of the drug in the blood, test for organ damage and check the levels of the virus in the bloodstream. If the virus mutates to resist the therapy, the combinations are changed. Careful monitoring may not be possible in many African settings. But with 25 million Africans infected with the AIDS virus, Doctors Without Borders and other agencies argue, imperfect treatment is better than none. Dr. Pecoul pointed out that large numbers of infected Africans live in urban areas where, ''with a quite simple clinic, you can deal with anti retrovirals.'' He is also ''not convinced'' that the batteries of tests routinely ordered for Western patients are really necessary. ''Some people suggest that H.I.V. testing and clinical followup can be enough,'' he added. The Cipla drug combination is two tablets of 40 milligrams of stavudine, two tablets of 150 milligrams of lamivudine and two tablets of 200 milligrams of nevirapine. In the United States and many other countries, the Bristol-Myers Squibb Company holds the patent on stavudine, also known as Zerit or d4T; Glaxo-Wellcome of Britain holds the patent on lamivudine, also known as Heptovir or 3TC, and Boerhinger Ingelheim G.m.b.H. of Germany holds the patent on nevirapine, or Viramune. Western drug companies have shown themselves determined to defend their patent rights to be sole distributors throughout the world, and Dr. John Wecker, head of Boerhinger Ingelheim's efforts to negotiate cheaper prices in Africa, said he did not yet know what his company would do if Cipla undercut its prices. ''We offer a standard quality from the original manufacturer and can meet any demand that exists out there that can be delivered with safe procedures,'' he said. He refused repeatedly to say at what price Boerhinger Ingelheim sells nevirapine to Senegal or Uganda, saying, ''Affordability is an issue, but not the major issue.'' Representatives from Glaxo-Wellcome and Bristol-Myers did not return phone calls, but the three companies can be expected to wage a hard fight against the distribution of generic versions of their drugs. Late last year, Glaxo-Wellcome threatened to sue Cipla when it tried to sell Duovir, its generic version of Glaxo's Combivir, a lamivudine/zidovudine combination, in Ghana. Cipla offered the drug for $1.74 a day; Glaxo had cut its price to $2, from $16. But even though the African regional patent authority said Glaxo's patents were not valid in Ghana, Cipla backed down and stopped selling Duovir. Asked what he would do if the three drug companies sued to stop him, Dr. Hamied said: ''We won't fight it. I don't look at it as a fight. There's room for everybody. This is a holocaust in Africa. It's like the earthquake in India right now -- everybody is helping out. I'm not looking to pick anybody's business; there's room for the multinationals at their price and room for us at our price, a partnership.''

The race to patent the SARS virus: the TRIPS agreement and access to essential medicines

by Matthew Rimmer. "[This article considers the race to sequence the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome virus (‘the SARS virus’) in light of the debate over patent law and access to essential medicines. Part II evaluates the claims of public research institutions in Canada, the United States, and Hong Kong, and commercial companies, to patent rights in respect of the SARS virus. It highlights the dilemma of ‘defensive patenting’ — the tension between securing private patent rights and facilitating public disclosure of information and research. Part III considers the race to patent the SARS virus in light of wider policy debates over gene patents. It examines the application of such patent criteria as novelty, inventive step, utility, and secret use. It contends that there is a need to reform the patent system to accommodate the global nature of scientific inquiry, the unique nature of genetics, and the pace of technological change. Part IV examines the role played by the World Trade Organization and the World Health Organization in dealing with patent law and access to essential medicines. The article contends that there is a need to ensure that the patent system is sufficiently flexible and adaptable to accommodate international research efforts on infectious diseases.]"

WTO Dispute DS503 - over visa quotas and whether national laws on minimum wages apply to guest workers (or can they be paid less than US minimum wage) and irreversibly opening the nation to vast expansions in numbers of disempowered guest workers to replace allegedly overpaid US workers could lead to large scale job losses

in all the service sectors committed in the US Schedule of Specific Commitments, and at all skill levels, from very skilled workers like doctors, nurses, teachers, lawyers, computer programmers, engineers, adult education, construction and energy and environmental workers, etc. Jobs would be put up for international bidding. Filed March 2016, could be decided by the DSB whenever it is able to convene a quorum which is currently being blocked by the US. Likely would be able to rule and require us to conform all our laws. Could lead to a GATS visa automatically being granted to guest worker supplying companies as an entitlement we would be unable to deny, because guest workers are not immigration, they are intra-corporate transferees.

Clinical characteristics of 24 asymptomatic infections with COVID-19 screened among close contacts in Nanjing, China.

Previous studies have showed clinical characteristics of patients with the 2019 novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and the evidence of person-to-person transmission. Limited data are available for asymptomatic infections. This study aims to present the clinical characteristics of 24 cases with asymptomatic infection screened from close contacts and to show the transmission potential of asymptomatic COVID-19 virus carriers. Epidemiological investigations were conducted among all close contacts of COVID-19 patients (or suspected patients) in Nanjing, Jiangsu Province, China, from Jan 28 to Feb 9, 2020, both in clinic and in community. Asymptomatic carriers were laboratory-confirmed positive for the COVID-19 virus by testing the nucleic acid of the pharyngeal swab samples. Their clinical records, laboratory assessments, and chest CT scans were reviewed. As a result, none of the 24 asymptomatic cases presented any obvious symptoms while nucleic acid screening. Five cases (20.8%) developed symptoms (fever, cough, fatigue, etc.) during hospitalization. Twelve (50.0%) cases showed typical CT images of ground-glass chest and 5 (20.8%) presented stripe shadowing in the lungs. The remaining 7 (29.2%) cases showed normal CT image and had no symptoms during hospitalization. These 7 cases were younger (median age: 14.0 years; P=0.012) than the rest. None of the 24 cases developed severe COVID-19 pneumonia or died. The median communicable period, defined as the interval from the first day of positive nucleic acid tests to the first day of continuous negative tests, was 9.5 days (up to 21 days among the 24 asymptomatic cases). Through epidemiological investigation, we observed a typical asymptomatic transmission to the cohabiting family members, which even caused severe COVID-19 pneumonia. Overall, the asymptomatic carriers identified from close contacts were prone to be mildly ill during hospitalization. However, the communicable period could be up to three weeks and the communicated patients could develop severe illness. These results highlighted the importance of close contact tracing and longitudinally surveillance via virus nucleic acid tests. Further isolation recommendation and continuous nucleic acid tests may also be recommended to the patients discharged. KEYWORDS: COVID-19; China; asymptomatic infections; close contact PMID: 32146694 DOI: 10.1007/s11427-020-1661-4

The socio-economic distribution of exposure to Ebola: Survey evidence from Liberia and Sierra Leone

Socio-economic factors are widely believed to have been an important driver of the transmission of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) during the West African outbreak of 2014–16, however, studies that have investigated the relationship between socio-economic status (SES) and EVD have found inconsistent results. Using nationally representative household survey data on whether respondents knew a close friend or family member with Ebola, we explore the SES determinants of EVD exposure along individual, household, and community lines in Liberia and Sierra Leone. While we find no overall association between household wealth and EVD exposure, we find that pooled data mask important differences observed within countries with higher wealth households more likely to have been exposed to EVD in Sierra Leone and the opposite relationship in Liberia. Finally, we also generally find a positive association between education and EVD exposure both at the individual and the community levels in the full sample. There is an urgent need to better understand these relationships to examine both why the outbreak spread and to help prepare for future outbreaks.

Concentration and detection of SARS coronavirus in sewage from Xiao Tang Shan Hospital and the 309th Hospital of the Chinese People's Liberation Army.

"In this study, we found that the virus can survive for 14 days in sewage at 4 degrees C, 2 days at 20 degrees C, and its RNA can be detected for 8 days though the virus had been inactivated. In conclusion, this study demonstrates that the RNA of SARS-CoV could be detected from the concentrates of sewage of both hospitals receiving SARS patients before disinfection and occasionally after disinfection though there was no live SARS-CoV; thus much attention should be paid to the treatment of stools of patients and the sewage of hospitals receiving SARS patients." This from the earlier SARS epidemic but likely is applicable to SARS-CoV-2 also - This is likely to be particularly problematic in developing countries that use "night soil" as fertilizer and/or do not treat sewage.

Has China faced only a herald wave of SARS-CoV-2?

The attack rate of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) calculated by mathematical models, from estimates of the basic reproduction number, R0, of 2–3, suggests that 50–60% of the population should eventually be infected because the population seems to be entirely naive to the new virus.1 The observed attack rate on board the Diamond Princess cruise ship remained slightly below 20% (705 of 3711 passengers and crew members became infected).1 It is of upmost importance to know whether the SARS-CoV-2 outbreak in China is subsiding, as local authorities and the entire international community might wish. With 80 026 COVID-19 cases officially reported from China as of March 2, 2020,2 the proportion of the population affected remains far from 50%, or even 20%, of China's 1·4 billion people. Has China just experienced a herald wave, to use terminology borrowed from those who study tsunamis, and is the big wave still to come?

Coronavirus: ‘We must choose who to treat,’ says Italian doctor

In Italian doctor in Lombardy, a region of Italy that has been quarantined due to the new coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak, has stated that doctors have to choose who to treat “according to age and state of health, as in war situations.” “To say that you do not die from the coronavirus is a lie that fills me with bitterness,” said Dr. Christian Salaroli, an anaesthetist, in an interview with the Italian daily Il Corriere della Sera on Monday. Salaroli said that the emergency is so big in Italy that he and his colleagues must now select the patients who will or will not be able to access mechanical resuscitation (by intubation) from among the most seriously ill. Patients with viral pneumonia, and are in acute respiratory failure, are first placed on non-invasive ventilation (NIV), using an oxygen mask. “It’s a first step, but after a few days, we have to choose. Since there is, unfortunately, a disproportion between hospital resources, resuscitation beds and critically ill patients, not everyone can be intubated,” Salaroli said. “We decide based on age and state of health,” he added. “If a person between 80 and 95 years old has severe respiratory failure, it’s likely we will not go ahead. If they have multi-organ failure, with more than two or three vital organs, it means that their mortality rate is 100%,” he added. Asked about the Italian government’s decision to quarantine more than 15 million people in northern Italy in an attempt to contain the epidemic, Salaroli said it was “fair but a week late.”

Market Spiral Pricing of Cancer Drugs

By Donald W. Light. "Companies are spiraling up high prices, not because of costs or better value, but because they can get away with it, in - only the USA. Senior oncologist, Hagop Kantarjian, and I show that very high prices for cancer & specialty drugs are not due to high costs of research, nor to added clinical value. Companies are simply spiraling up prices already 2-3 times greater than other capitalist countries allow, because we allow them to. High co-pays hurt patients and impede good clinical care. This exploitation of serious ill patients and taxpayers is ethically troubling and must stop."

How Do Your Morals Shape Your Politics?

By Zaid Jiliani This is very good, These concepts can be used to do good, but they can also be used to manipulate people into letting down their guard and allowing great injustices, as the GATS shows.

Chinese man who said Xi Jinping's belated response to coronavirus "was clueless" now faces 15 years in jail.

Xu Zhiyong, a former law lecturer and founder of the social campaign New Citizens Movement, was taken away by police on 15 February during a fresh crackdown on freedom of speech precipitated by the coronavirus crisis. ..... His family said Xu had been placed in “residential surveillance at a designated location” – a form of solitary detention that can last up to six months in an unknown location without lawyer or family access. Many human rights lawyers who have been held in this form of secret detention were tortured for months before being formally charged and jailed on state security crimes

Inside America's woefully ill-prepared health system

"by Jacob Greber: The US healthcare system, so expensive that people actively avoid hospitals, could become the defining political issue of a presidential election year." "One American every 30 seconds is bankrupted by medical bills."

Coronavirus Time Bomb: America's Uninsured and Brutal Work Culture

As the virus began spreading in the west of the country, where the nation's first death was reported on February 29, public health experts warned the US has several characteristics unique among wealthy nations that make it vulnerable. These include a large and growing population without medical insurance, the 11 million or so undocumented migrants afraid to come into contact with authorities, and a culture of "powering through" when sick for fear of losing one's job. "These are all things that can perpetuate the spread of a virus," said Brandon Brown, an epidemiologist at UC Riverside. The number of Americans without health insurance began falling from a high of 46.7 million in 2010 following the passage of Obamacare (the Affordable Care Act), but has risen again over the past two years.

Indian Authorities Propose Use of "Homeopathy" to "Prevent Coronavirus":Critics of the practice say the guidance is irresponsible and could give users a false sense of security.

It is more than hugely irresponsible to represent "homeopathy" as science - it is criminal in a poor country that has a long history of taking any excuse it can to cut corners. India still has not fully funded universal public primary education and hundreds of millions of poor Indian children do not even get to attend school, unless their parents pay fees they cannot afford. At the same time they are spending billions of dollars to send expensive toys for rich people to the moon.

Coronavirus outbreak worries hourly workers without paid sick time

In addition to missed business opportunities, those who are self-employed or hourly workers, like Placido Borrequero, a Pilsen father of three, who is worried about how he will continue to put food on the table if the virus spreads to him. Borreguero works in landscaping and lawn care. "I don't have any sick days. If I am sick I don't work that day, I don't get paid that day. That's why I am really worried," he said. Leone Bicchieri is the executive director of Working Family Solidarity, located in the Pilsen neighborhood. He says he has been hearing from people on the south and west sides who are already struggling to make ends meet, concerned about access to healthcare and supporting their families. "If they miss one or two days work and they are already behind a month or two in the bills, they are going to be evicted and now they're going to be homeless," Bicchieri said. He wants to know what the plan is to help these workers if the virus continues to spread. "The government really need to get behind this, needs to tell businesses and companies. Please do not fire or discipline low wage workers who have to stay home," Bicchieri said. "I have a wife and three children. What's going to happen to them. I am the main bread winner," Borreguero said.

A Miami man who flew to China worried he might have coronavirus. He may owe thousands.

You really must read this story, which shows how America's healthcare system is criminally deficient. The Trump Administration, in conformance with our extensive WTO (GATS) commitments, such as the standstill clause in the Understanding on Financial Services Regulation is rolling back all post 1998 changes in financial service regulations, (like health insurance and banking) leaving the financially unsophisticated poor wide open to exploitation by sellers of what we unfortunately frame as 'innovative financial services'. Its the official US trade position that governments cannot be allowed to interfere with even predatory forms of business. Even to protect people from the worst kinds of practices. Even to protect us from emergencies. Profit is Job #1.

Achmea search on italaw_com

The Achmea case shows how a small country that, while part of a country, Czechoslovakia, that did/does not exist any more mistakenly signed a trade deal that was highly unfavorable to their ability to determine their own health care through voting. When the Czech and Slovak nations split, both countries inherited these bad deals between powerful and legally savvy Western European countries rushing to take advantage of the naivete of the Eastern Europeans in matters of trade, after communism fell. (this happened all throughout eastern Europe in a problem that was collectively called the IntraEUBITS. ) The case also spotlights the destruction of democracy by ISDS because after voting in a landslide for single payer in 2006 the country was immediately sued by a health insurer for the tort of "indirect exxpropriation" of "their property" (the policy space was treated like a piece of property) in an ISDS case. Notable for many reasons, particularly to me because in the end (Slovakia eventually won on a EU-specific technical issue) the EU high court did NOT touch what I consider to be the core issue, whether countries (in this case EU Member States) have the right to regulate, especially important in life and death issues like health care. The case could have decided that but did not, leaving that all important issue alone. In fact, if one looks at the later documents and the legal articles on it later on the health insurance versus single payer issue is almost never mentioned. Showing how out of touch the international law community in Europe is with the common peoples needs, among other things. Something like it could easily happen here - Look at what happened to South Africa and it's NHI, for example. South Africa voted for NHI a long time ago but it's voters wishes have been frustrated by GATS, and politicians have not been straightforward with the country about why, similar to the US, GATS has become a mother lode of politician dishonesty that will cause endless corruption and lock in as long as the country remains bound by it. In South Africa's case, GATS is also a binding but little known legacy of the apartheid regime that continues to frustrate the hopes of South Africans for change.

The neuroinvasive potential of SARS-CoV2 may be at least partially responsible for the respiratory failure of COVID-19 patients

"The most characteristic symptom of COVID-19 patients is respiratory distress, and most of the patients admitted to the intensive care could not breathe spontaneously. Additionally, some COVID-19 patients also showed neurologic signs such as headache, nausea and vomiting. Increasing evidence shows that coronaviruses are not always confined to the respiratory tract and that they may also invade the central nervous system inducing neurological diseases. The infection of SARS-CoV has been reported in the brains from both patients and experimental animals, where the brainstem was heavily infected. Furthermore, some coronaviruses have been demonstrated able to spread via a synapse-connected route to the medullary cardiorespiratory center from the mechano- and chemoreceptors in the lung and lower respiratory airways".

Avoiding coronavirus may be a luxury some US workers can't afford

Stay home from work if you get sick. See a doctor. Use a separate bathroom from the people you live with. Prepare for schools to close and to work from home. These are measures the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended to slow a coronavirus outbreak in the United States. Yet these are much easier to do for certain people — in particular, high-earning professionals. Service industry workers — like those in restaurants, retail, child care and the gig economy — are much less likely to have paid sick days, the ability to work remotely or employer-provided health insurance. The disparity could make the new coronavirus, which causes a respiratory illness known as COVID-19, harder to contain in the U.S. than in other rich countries that have universal benefits like health care and sick leave, experts say. A large segment of workers are not able to stay home, and many of them work in jobs that include high contact with other people. It could also mean that low-income workers are hit harder by the virus.

Coronavirus: In the US, Covid-19 may have spread undetected for weeks

Might this mess have something to do with the US's healthcare system preventing sick people from seeking care due to fear of out of control costs? Because of the long existing GATS and pending TISA agreements, we basically "have to" get the worst deal of all, to show we "mean business"! American lives are being sacrificed in extremely high numbers - most figures I have seen estimate between 50-100/day on the altar of profit. This has arguably been going on for 25 years, because that's how long the US healthcare system has been rigged - in order to convince the world the only permissible healthcare system is the for-profit system. Public healthcare systems could have been set up freely before Jan 1, 1995 ( the date of the WTO's creation or possibly as early as before September 20, 1986, the date of the Punta Del Este Declaration) They work better than for profit systems, whose intent is to prevent people from seeking care with costs they cannot afford.. However, epidemics like Coronavirus show what a criminally bad policy that is. )

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.

Yale Study Says Medicare for All Would Save U.S. $450 Billion, Prevent Nearly 70,000 Deaths a Year!

(Democracy Now video, BUT- please read the text below it carefully and note what is being said, I totally agree, I have seen the raw figures and struggled with how to break the news to the country that thanks to GATS hijacking our healthcare system for 25 yrs behind our backs, when at least a million poorer Americans have died in that time, we're going to run into a brick wall OF OUR OWN MAKING, one even worse than the UK's is. There is no answer for this, except, one. Exposure of the crime. And admission that this has been and continues to be a mass murder of the poor that has no justification, especially from fraudulent deals to put aside, no throttle democracy. And democracy must be restored and the hijacking must immediately stop, and everybody who has had a hand in continuing this dishonest situation with more and more lies, including hiding GATS - making it- at least officially seem that we could not vote to fix it, something many knew , which has also been discussed in the academic and scholarly press, but we were never officially told. So the media pretends its still 1992. Before FTAs. Those who perpetuate/perpetuated this gridlock system should immediately be arrested. For murder. It can be seen that depending on when we start counting, an unspeakably large number of people have died in that time. Time during which we were led to believe we could just vote to fix it. Like many think today. That's not the case, the system has been rigged, not just superficially, rigged as in hijacked by deals that put everything we need to do off the table. Both US parties are hiding this, and it also is being hidden in an incredibly shameless way in the UK..

Jed Jones, 28, and his wife Liu pan, a British Chinese Couple, married five years, together for seven fled Wuhan on an evacuation flight,

Now they are getting told that having their baby in the UK could expose them to a $10,000 cost. Since they have been married so long, shouldn't Liu pan be eligible for UK permanent residency and eventually citizenship? What about their baby, who will likely be born in the UK? WTF? I think I am beginning to understand that there remain some deep seated differences, not so far removed from the ones in the past, why the US revolted, seriously. SHAME on the Tory Party. Healthcare should be a human right. I suppose they are lucky its not the US where a difficult pregnancy can cost in some cases, >$280,000 if a woman is "self-insured" (uninsured). This is a good example of why healthcare needs to be free. The UK's NHS would be in a different category and would not be being forced to suffer this "death of a thousand cuts" (no pun intended) if the UK had been smart enough to follow the rules it itself helped write and abolished commercial for profit health insurance in the UK for rich people BEFORE it joined the WTO efective January 1, 1995. Whoever was PM then shares responsibility with our Bill Clinton for this accursedness . Only if their NHS had not been a public option, and pre-existed the WTO, could the UK's NHS have avoided its 25 year long ordeal of cuts as its gradually privatized in accordance with the WTO rules. Leaving the EU and attempting to re-enter the WTO as a separate entity likely will require they make the UK conformant with the rules and result in the loss of the portions that don't conform, basically everything, *sigh* See the Skala paper- the first link in the external links directory for a list Oops!

India offers the US market access for exported chickens, and dairy in exchange, we give India market access so they can replace our "overpaid" programmers, nurses, teachers and engineers. Yes, engineers.

This is what trade deals do. Make no mistake about it, what India wants is JOBS, lots and lots of jobs currently done by Americans in US businesses. Workers train their replacements over a nine month, three phase period that makes them ineligible for benefits of any kind besides the US meagre unemployment insurance. India's elites broker jobs and take the lions share of the profits Its a total scam, and they know it, and we know it, and both US parties and the US political class is in on it, its an inside job. FTAs like GATS promise (they claim) unlimited access without limits on wages and quotas, (the group of nations most aggressively fighting for expanded Mode Four and a trade facilitation agreement on services, dispute their (now mostly IT, but if the quota is struck down, it will be all services committed under GATS, basically all the good professional and semiprofessional jobs first, then working downward.) firms having to pay their "temporary" workers a legal US wage) They also don't hire Americans despite, in many cases, claiming to be US companies. which could replace a huge percentage (a recent study said 41% but it left out public services which under GATS would be heavily impacted. They are already suing us for more jobs in WTO dispute DS503, which could become a major disaster for the middle class around the world. People have no idea. What they want there could also destroy Social Security. We should not sign any more FTAs with any country, especially not India or the UK, because we just are enabling elites to get rid of the safety nets. Everything about these deals is a shameless lie..

Farmers outraged water from drought-stricken regions "sold to China"

Conflict over water mining illustrates how FTAs are literally a global "Second Enclosure" of everything, giving global extractive industries rights to sell what they mine which would seem to conflict with what is basically common sense and expected behaviors by governments in the last century. (Both in the case of services, or goods, arguably the biggest shift occurred on January 1, 1995, the date the WTO came into force.) The problem is the rules have been changed and we, the people, are invariably the last to know. Goods and services of all kinds became tradable and once exported, even just a little bit, the entire shift is locked in (the ratchet, its called) and from that point onward all "measures" (basically any and every law and policy or lack of activity by governments at all levels, and quasi-governmental bodies) which impacts the "supply" of it in the commodity sense, for example, by reducing its value by restricting the sale (for example, the NHS reduces the value of health insurance even if few can afford it, it will have to be phased out in favor of market based services people can buy, if they are healthy enough, and dont have any genetic issues) A shift occurs such that providing it, (or that of "like" services, see the EC-Bananas case) are under the jurisdiction of international treaties, like the WTO's, and others, and all laws must conform to them at least by being minimally trade restrictive. Once it begins, all laws that conflict with international trade are subsumed to the rules of the trade body, like the WTO. So even if people are dying of thirst due to water being exported, or freezing to death of cold because the fuel has been exported, international trade export takes precedence. Similar to the Irish Potato Famine when lots of food was exported from Ireland (which was part of the UK, the richest country in the world at that time). People who got in the way were also exported, (transported) we may recall. To Australia which was a British colony.

Vaccine efficacy in senescent mice challenged with recombinant SARS-CoV bearing epidemic and zoonotic spike variants.

BACKGROUND: In 2003, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) was identified as the etiological agent of severe acute respiratory syndrome, a disease characterized by severe pneumonia that sometimes results in death. SARS-CoV is a zoonotic virus that crossed the species barrier, most likely originating from bats or from other species including civets, raccoon dogs, domestic cats, swine, and rodents. A SARS-CoV vaccine should confer long-term protection, especially in vulnerable senescent populations, against both the 2003 epidemic strains and zoonotic strains that may yet emerge from animal reservoirs. We report the comprehensive investigation of SARS vaccine efficacy in young and senescent mice following homologous and heterologous challenge. METHODS AND FINDINGS: Using Venezuelan equine encephalitis virus replicon particles (VRP) expressing the 2003 epidemic Urbani SARS-CoV strain spike (S) glycoprotein (VRP-S) or the nucleocapsid (N) protein from the same strain (VRP-N), we demonstrate that VRP-S, but not VRP-N vaccines provide complete short- and long-term protection against homologous strain challenge in young and senescent mice. To test VRP vaccine efficacy against a heterologous SARS-CoV, we used phylogenetic analyses, synthetic biology, and reverse genetics to construct a chimeric virus (icGDO3-S) encoding a synthetic S glycoprotein gene of the most genetically divergent human strain, GDO3, which clusters among the zoonotic SARS-CoV. icGD03-S replicated efficiently in human airway epithelial cells and in the lungs of young and senescent mice, and was highly resistant to neutralization with antisera directed against the Urbani strain. Although VRP-S vaccines provided complete short-term protection against heterologous icGD03-S challenge in young mice, only limited protection was seen in vaccinated senescent animals. VRP-N vaccines not only failed to protect from homologous or heterologous challenge, but resulted in enhanced immunopathology with eosinophilic infiltrates within the lungs of SARS-CoV-challenged mice. VRP-N-induced pathology presented at day 4, peaked around day 7, and persisted through day 14, and was likely mediated by cellular immune responses. CONCLUSIONS: This study identifies gaps and challenges in vaccine design for controlling future SARS-CoV zoonosis, especially in vulnerable elderly populations. The availability of a SARS-CoV virus bearing heterologous S glycoproteins provides a robust challenge inoculum for evaluating vaccine efficacy against zoonotic strains, the most likely source of future outbreaks. PMID: 17194199 PMCID: PMC1716185 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pmed.0030525

On the Origins of the 2019-nCoV Virus, Wuhan, China

RECOMBINATION technology has been in use in molecular virology since the 1980’s. The structure of the 2019-NCoV virus genome provides a very strong clue on the likely origin of the virus. Unlike other related coronaviruses, the 2019-nCoV virus has a unique sequence about 1,378 bp (nucleotide base pairs) long that is not found in related coronaviruses. Looking at the phylogenetic tree recently published derived using all the full genome sequence, we see the 2019-nCoV virus does not have clear monophyletic support given the bootstrap value of 75 (Fig 1).

Virus more transmissable than had been thought: New insights into the transmissibility of the virus

A joint press release by Charité, Munich Clinic Schwabing and the Bundeswehr Institute of Microbiology ( https://www.charite.de/en/service/press_reports/artikel/detail/novel_coronavirus_infectious_virus_detected_in_the_nose_and_throat_of_patients_with_mild_symptoms/ ) Laboratory testing by Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin, the Bundeswehr Institute of Microbiology and Munich Clinic Schwabing has revealed that infectious virus can be isolated from nose and throat swabs even where these have been obtained from patients with mild symptoms. The research groups have therefore come to the conclusion that even persons with mild symptoms are capable of transmitting the virus.

2019-nCoV: Infectious virus can be isolated from nose, throat swabs of patients with mild symptoms

"Laboratory testing by Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin, the Bundeswehr Institute of Microbiology and Munich Clinic Schwabing has revealed that infectious virus can be isolated from nose and throat swabs even where these have been obtained from patients with mild symptoms. The research groups have therefore come to the conclusion that even persons with mild symptoms are capable of transmitting the virus."

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."

Democratization or repression?

by Daron Acemoglu and James A. Robinson "Regimes controlled by a rich elite often collapse and make way for democracy amidst widespread social unrest. Such regime changes are often followed by redistribution to the poor at the expense of the former elite. We argue that the reason why the elite may have to resort to full-scale democratization, despite its apparent costs to themselves, may be that lesser concessions would be viewed as a sign a weakness and spur further unrest and more radical demands. The elite may therefore be forced to choose between repression and the most generous concession, a transition to full democracy."

Department of Consumer and Worker Protection Releases Updated Report: 1.04 Million Households in NYC are Unbanked or Underbanked

NEW YORK, NY – Department of Consumer and Worker Protection (DCWP) today released a research brief illustrating the updated number of unbanked and underbanked households in NYC and where they live. The brief shows that 354,100 households (11.2 percent) have no bank account (unbanked) and another 689,000 households (21.8 percent) have a bank account but use alternative financial products for some banking needs (underbanked). The estimated number of unbanked and underbanked households are disproportionately in neighborhoods that have higher rates of vulnerable residents and residents struggling in other areas of financial health.

On sweatshop jobs and decent work

This paper argues that while rooting out sweatshop conditions raises unemployment, the potential gains include an increase in decent work employment, a pro-worker shift in distribution, and an improvement in overall efficiency. In a search model of employment inspired by firm- and household-level evidence about the harm that sweatshop conditions pose to workers' capability to be productive at work and to be vertically mobile, this paper unpacks the irony of job losses and efficiency gains by examining equilibria where, unless regulations are in place, employers tolerate unproductive sweatshop conditions, and where workers accept insufficiently compensating sweatshop wages.

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.

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?

Austerity in the UK - "undoing" their "benefits freeze" won't do much to undo its damage.

Its striking how shamelessly the British and US media are covering up the GATS (and TISA- both plan to outsource and offshore millions of public and quasi-public jobs to developing nations temping firms) which are behind all this phony "austerity". Many used to report on it in the 1990s. Those articles can still be found. GATS is basically a global agreement between autocratical oligarchs to pursue what will increasingly become a genocide of the poor by decimating and monetizing public services just as jobs are vanishing to automation and a beefed up safety net is needed.

State Capture: An Overview

"Why don't our political parties tell us that many (most?) of them are corrupt and only in it for themselves?" Hmm..

“America Exists Today to Make War”: Lawrence Wilkerson on Endless War & American Empire (on "Democracy Now")

"Retired U.S. Army Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, who served as Secretary of State Colin Powell’s chief of staff from 2002 to 2005, says the escalation of tensions between the U.S. and Iran today is a continuation of two decades of U.S. policy disasters in the Middle East, starting with the 2003 run-up to war with Iraq under the Bush administration. “America exists today to make war. How else do we interpret 19 straight years of war and no end in sight? It’s part of who we are. It’s part of what the American Empire is,” says Wilkerson. “We are going to cheat and steal to do whatever it is we have to do to continue this war complex. That’s the truth of it. And that’s the agony of it.” (And trade agreements, by globalizing non-military government procurement creating a financial incentive driving perpetual warfare spending, are turning "non-government security" public services jobs into precarious labor by turning them into "bargaining chips" in their global labor arbitrage trading game.)

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.

Understanding the European Union’s Understanding on Computer and Related Services

"They are trading the decent jobs away". This rant, I am sorry to say is about a huge loss of a beautiful thing we used to have here in the US, an insanely great, creative tech community. Its been ruined by money's most corrupting influence possible. Something much like slavery. My rant today is about proposed expansions in the scope of outsourcing and offshoring of technical work involving computers and computing. It would make the landscape for computer and related services more like the US where over a million jobs have been outsourced to foreign temping firms. This kind of offshoring and in-sourcing is highly discriminatory against workers who do not speak specific Indian languages (a very large portion of the L1B + H1B workforce is from a specific part of India) They work for huge multinational corporations that take a good portion of their wages. Many have to pay bribes to get these jobs which put somebody on the path to possible permanent residency. This undercut the value of technical work in many fields by a huge amount and are eliminating entry level jobs for recent college graduates, many who are buried in debt. It siphons off the wages of transnational workers, often being compared to slavery. It makes the vulnerable to harassment of various kinds and the shift to using mostly male Indian workers who are from this "Telugu" speaking area in many firms has eliminated a great deal of the diversity in computing jobs in the US. The firms claim to hire Americans but the fact is they go to great lengths not to for any of the better positions. They just do it to reach certain quotas and only when they have to, certain rules only kick in when the company has more than 50 workers or "more than half of their employees" are on non-immigrant visas. Europeans are likely to be shocked at how bad it is. Making the change could greatly impact a large slice of creative and technical work like programming in countries like the UK that still have not seen the worst of it. Just because a job is in a country does not mean that it will employ somebody from there, that connection is being severed by trade agreements, in a bizarre parody of the US civil rights movement. In a very negative way. Here I don't agree with Jane Kelsey - Its not a good thing in any way. Also I don't see these firms or their workers as being specifically talented, they are no better than those they replaced. Many have mediocre talents, just like any other nationality. The firms and the process they end up here as part of are also very dishonest. Many are not bad people, and in fact, they will often be the first to tell you that Its not a good situation. Its killing an essential industry. People are forced to bribe these companies to get their children these jobs, so its like a six year internship.

Movement of Natural Persons (Mode-4) Under GATS: Advantage Developing Countries

(by Dipankar Dey) "The actual potential of Mode-4 could not be exploited for the benefit of developing countries that enjoy comparative advantage in this mode over others. The developed countries have offered almost nothing in the Mode-4 negotiation despite liberalizing labor mobility via other mechanisms. So far, the developing country policy makers have failed to exploit the comparative advantage they claim to enjoy in Mode-4. They should be blamed either for their inability to assess the true potential of this mode of service or for their failure to chalk out an effective strategy during negotiation. The Southern negotiators should prepare themselves with appropriate strategy and tactics to enable them to put pressure on their Northern counterparts, for binding the latter's commitments on liberal market access, better working condition and protection of human rights for the immigrant workers." (See also the references cited in this essay.)

The Genesis of the GATS (GATS' beginnings, through one set of eyes)

"The Uruguay Round services negotiations saw the light of day amidst pressures from lobbies in developed countries, unilateral retaliatory actions, and ideological struggle in the developing world. The final outcome, the GATS, certainly characterized by a complex structure and awkward drafting here and there, is not optimal but is an important first step towards the liberalization of trade in services. This article traces the GATS negotiating history, from its very beginning in the late 1970s, paying particular attention to the main forces that brought the services dossier to the multilateral trading system (governments, industries, and academics), and the interaction between developed and developing countries before and during the Uruguay Round. We will follow the actions, positions, and negotiating stances of four trading partners – Brazil, the European Union, India, and the United States – that were key in the development of the GATS. Finally, we will, indicatively at least, try to attribute a ‘paternity’ (or, rather, a ‘maternity’) to some key features and provisions of the agreement."

General Agreement on Trade in Services: A Resource for Librarians

The GATS is a threat to all services delivered by governments unless they are completely free in an entire country, and only provided by the government as part of its authority. Healthcare may qualify in Canada (its perhaps the only country where it still does) but there are commercial, for profit libraries and "like" services that compete with them there, so, like all other once public services, pretty much, libraries in both Canada and the US are in grave danger, just as people need them the most.

The "nonprofit-industrial complex"

"For folks who have worked at nonprofits, one of the most obvious problems is the professionalization of nonprofit work, including the growing numbers of people seeking advanced degrees in nonprofit management — which seeks to bring corporate management techniques to the world of nonprofits. Nonprofits may be required to have employees with certain advanced degrees in order to bill for services and receive funding from programs, such as Medi-Cal in California or the federal Medicaid health care program. Foundations themselves may place whatever stipulations they want in grants, including requiring those who provide services to have advanced degrees, such as a PhD in psychology, even if it’s not necessarily needed. This professionalization creates stratification between nonprofit employees and the clients they serve, as well as among those with and without such degrees within a nonprofit. One consequence of this dynamic is that the people who are clients of service nonprofits are practically locked out of jobs at these organizations — which is a shame because the people who experience the problems are the ones who should be crafting the solutions."

"Asking for Trouble" by Ellen Gould

In April 2006, the Alberta and British Columbia governments signed a far-reaching agreement – the Trade, Investment and Labour Mobility Agreement (TILMA). Advocates of TILMA have underlined its significance, describing the agreement as an “erasing of the provincial boundary for all purposes except voting and the colour of the license plate,” “the single most important economic event to happen in Western Canada in the last hundred years,” and “breaking down all of the economic barriers between the two provinces to create one economy out of the two.”

IT Sector being "extraordinarily disrupted" by abuse of L-1B and H-1B visa programs on a large scale to replace US workers, this is being caused in no small part by GATS.

In particular, GATS' "movement of natural persons" provisions. (GATS' 'Mode Four') which can pay as little as US minimum wage. (even that is a subject of dispute by developing countries who claim that under trade agreements - specifically under visas like the L-1B visa, that they have a right to pay their temporary non-immigrant visa holding workers, whatever they want. This right is claimed under the original Uruguay Round and is the subject of WTO dispute DS 503, filed in March 2016 by India, and still to my knowledge unresolved.)

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.

Mind the GATS! (Robert Newman, The Guardian, 2000)

"Leaked WTO documents show them currently working out a list of what will be acceptable as a "legitimate" government objective for any regulation of services under GATS. That of "safeguarding the public interest" has already been rejected. If GATS goes ahead, warns economist Susan George, "then Europe can kiss goodbye its public health services". But even though that's just the start of the disaster, there has been no parliamentary debate or news coverage about GATS. (It's way too important for that.) The British government's official line is that there's nothing to worry about anyway. The DTI claims GATS won't apply to the NHS or education here because "non-commercial services" are exempt from the fiat . But GATS says that if you've got just one tiny part of a public service that's even an iddy-biddy-bit commercial then THE WHOLE THING IS UP FOR GRABS."

Rough trade: A critique of the draft Cancun ministerial declaration (2003)

The history of the WTO shows that millions of poor people all around the world have paid a huge price for its capture and hijacking of democracy. It's naive to think that that the big countries or the WTO would somehow change their behavior and restore democratic rule when it was their own poor people who were paying that price.

GATS and Government Services

"There are two major issues raised in the literature about GATS and its application to publicly funded service providers such as libraries. The first issue is the exemption of some services from all parts of the GATS agreement and the second issue pertains to the GATS articles that apply to services that are not exempt. To begin with, not all services are or will be negotiated for inclusion to the GATS. An exception was made for services which fall into the general exemption of "government authority". These services are not required to be liberalized to trade in any way nor is any part of the air transport and traffic sectors (WTO, GATS 2). The exception of "services provided to the public in the exercise of governmental authority" is contentious because its meaning has not been clearly defined in GATS. In Article I(3) of the agreement there are two tests applied to the definition of a government provided service: first, it must not be offered on a commercial basis and second, it must not be provided in competition with other service providers (Shrybman, iv). If a service offered by the government fails these tests, then the government must withdraw from providing the service or fund all other providers equally. The WTO states that this position is straightforward and covers "social security schemes and any other public service, such as health or education, that is provided at non-market conditions" (WTO, The General). However, as Hunt points out, these two tests actually make it difficult to determine what would qualify as a government service under GATS when those clauses are closely considered (32). Services such as health care and education have private for-profit suppliers, which 'in competition' with publicly funded and supplied services. Despite the assurances of the WTO, it would seem that these clauses would effectively exclude those services from the list of services offered in exercise of government authority."

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. .

In speech in UK in June 2016 WTO Director-General Roberto Azevêdo told Britons they are in for a major ordeal by forcing themselves to go through the arduous re-accession to the trade body, but the Britons pretend he never said this.

Here he is talking about services, for example, the NHS, which has violated WTO rules for 25 years, (Like the US the UK is supposed to phase out non-conforming measures and replace them with market based measures). and one doesn't have to read through the lines much. Notice also that he starts the speech off by talking about comparative advantage.. ----cut here------ "And there could be an impact on services trade as well. In addition, the UK would also need to re-establish its terms of trade within the WTO. The UK, as an individual country, would of course remain a WTO member, but it would not have defined terms in the WTO for its trade in goods and services. It only has these commitments as an EU member. Key aspects of the EU’s terms of trade could not simply be cut and pasted for the UK. Therefore important elements would need to be negotiated". "There is no precedent for this — even the process for conducting these negotiations is unclear at this stage".

The Behavioral Dynamics of Positive and Negative Listing in Services Trade Liberalization: A Look at the Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA) Negotiations

"From a standard rational choice perspective, the choice architecture of an international trade in services liberalization scheme as structured around either positive or negative listing should not have any appreciable effect on the depth and breadth of commitment. In contrast, behavioral economics, in particular Prospect Theory and phenomena such as framing effects and status quo bias, suggest that a negative list approach would be more conducive to economic liberalization. Several additional complicating factors, such as sectorial considerations, negotiating asymmetries and transaction costs, preclude this hypothesis from being subjected to reliable empirical testing. However, a case study of the currently ongoing negotiations towards a plurilateral Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA), reveals that trade diplomats are acutely attuned to the potential importance of such negotiated ‘choice architecture’, and that behavioral effects can have significant influence on negotiations. This demonstrates that behavioral dynamics, especially compromise effects, are a significant part of international trade talks, at least with respect to services trade. Keywords: WTO, Trade in Services, international law, negotiations, Trade in Services Agreement, behavioral economics, framing effects, compromise effects" -----------------comment--------- This is what's meant by "privatization by stealth" Negative list promotes extreme dishonesty in politicians because people assume something has to happen for their future policy space, jobs, working environment to have been committed away, actually, its the opposite, something has to happen for them not to be stolen. A carve out. Otherwise it goes on autopilot and once its done, the various Trojan horse clauses m like standstill, rollback, ratchet, and indirect expropriation/ISDS make privatization virtually irreversible. See ISDS, also see the IntraEUBITS topic.

"TTIP, CETA and TISA – what you need to know about EU trade agreements " (by UNISON global trade union)

(Note, liberalize means privatize and globalize, i.e. outsource often across international borders, typically via a tender, the lowest qualified bidding subcontractor gets the entitlement to do the work. Countries have to allow it, with the rationale being its temporary to allow a subcontracting firm to do business, saving money on wages, increasing profitability for firms, not permanently for immigration. Terms can be quite long, though even decades, employees are often kept in a state of precarity. Think global gig economy. or NAFTA for the rest of the jobs, FTAs undermine wages strongly. They wll start out with public sector jobs like teaching, nursing and IT for academia, etc.)

Robots to Take Over Half of Human Jobs in Korea in 10 Years (2017)

One in two jobs in Korea will be replaced by robots or artificial intelligence 10 years from now, according to a study released Monday by the Korea Research Institute for Vocational Education and Training. The study finds that 52 percent of jobs in Korea are at high risk of being automated in the next decade or more.

Providing protection to foreign owned patents-a strategic decision

"This paper examines the question of whether a non-innovating country will protect foreign-owned patents even when the decision to protect patents does not affect the rate of innovation. We consider a three-country setting, with one innovating north and two imitating..." (Actually, because of TRIPS, TRIMS, etc, this is one of the real-life arguments used to sell the GATS as a a positive thing to insiders- even if it trades precious, vanishing jobs away in large numbers) "With globalization, there are winners and losers, Sorry old chap!"

Carrying a Good Joke Too Far: TRIPS and Treaties of Adhesion

"A small, unindustrialized country enters into an agreement with a significantly larger, more industrialized country. The agreement must be signed before the small country is permitted to join an exclusive, wealth- generating organization. The small country is facing an epidemic of epic proportions. Already, twenty-two million of its citizens have died as a result of a deadly virus and over thirty million of its citizens are infected. Almost three million die every year. Thirteen million children are orphaned; 15,000 new people acquire the virus every day. The average fifteen-year-old citizen has more than a fifty percent chance of dying of the virus and is more likely to die of the virus than all other causes combined. Finally, while the virus attacks indiscriminately, it impacts the country's economic driving force-its farmers, teachers, blue-collar workers, young adults, and parents -particularly hard. The disease is treatable, but at a cost well out of reach of the country's citizens. The country attempts to address this crisis by implementing two methods, parallel importation and compulsory licensing, which will drastically reduce prices and ensure the supply of drugs at affordable prices. Upon enactment, the larger industrialized country demands that the smaller country halt implementation because the methods violate its obligations under the agreement." (Sound familiar? It should.)

Transnational mercantilism and the emergent global trading order

Jean-Christophe Graz ABSTRACT It is often argued that the problems currently facing the World Trade Organization stem from an important shift in the trade agenda from tariff reduction to the harmonisation of domestic regulations considered as non tariff barriers. From this perspective, the lack of harmonisation of domestic regulations severely impairs the capacity of the WTO to fulfil its mission. This article argues, in contrast, that the underlying problems facing the contemporary trade agenda are different, and are caused by a lack of differentiation in the regulatory framework of the WTO. To substantiate this claim, a conception of transnational mercantilism is derived from recent scholarly revisions of classical mercantilism. This clarifies a continuity between the external dimension and the comprehensive pattern of social organisation involved in the political economy of international trade. This framework is used to appraise four structures upon which trade policy is predicated: the implementation of market mechanisms, the embeddedness of trade in state-society relations, the link between trade and the natural environment, and special and differential treatment for developing countries. KEYWORDS World Trade Organisation; new trade agenda; Doha development agenda; international political economy; transnational mercantilism.

Canada's CCPA's (progressive NGO) submission on the USMCA (new NAFTA)

CCPA recommendations for a better North American trade model The all-party House of Commons trade committee is consulting Canadians on their priorities for bilateral and trilateral North American trade in light of the current renegotiation of NAFTA. In the CCPA’s submission to this process, Scott Sinclair, Stuart Trew, and Hadrian Mertins-Kirkwood argue for a different kind of trading relationship that is inclusive, transformative, and forward-looking—focused on today’s real challenges, including climate change, the changing nature of work, stagnant welfare gains, and unacceptable levels of inequality in all three North American countries. The CCPA submission largely repeats advice given to Global Affairs Canada during the department’s consultation on the NAFTA renegotiations, but is updated to take into account some of the proposals put forward by Canada and the U.S. during the first three rounds of talks.

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.)

Industry Lobbyists Gloss Over Red Flags: Trade and Public Policy Expert Lori Wallach's Testimony to the European Union

LORI WALLACH's EXPERT TESTIMONY TO THE EU: GOOD LEGISLATORS ARE BEING DECEIVED BY INSIDER BAD APPLE LEGISLATORS AND LOBBYISTS TO THINK THEY STILL HAVE POWER, THAT THEY DON'T, THAT HAS BEEN STOLEN FROM THEM. This is why Biden will veto Medicare For All, as HE IS ONE OF THE INSIDER BAD APPLES. Wallach:"Indeed, in parliaments around the world, many legislators consider that service sector policy – how to ensure that residents have health care, safe water, affordable electricity and gas and quality education – is within their jurisdiction rather than subject to distant “trade” negotiations. And, to the extent that most legislators are even aware of the negotiations now underway at the WTO on the GATS, their information largely comes from the perspective of service sector businesses who view the negotiations as a tool to go on the offensive to seek service sector business opportunities in other countries."

Health for some: death, disease and disparity in a globalizing era

By R Labonte, T Schrecker, AS Gupta. These vignettes show how recent, rapid changes in our global economy can imperil the health of millions. The first describes a real event. 1 The other three are composites, like those used in the World Bank's World Development Report 1995 (World Bank 1995), but in …

The "Prudential Exception" In The GATS After The Case Argentina – Financial Services

Alexandre Marques da Silva Martins - "Experience has shown there has been a need for prudential measures to be imposed on financial services. The global financial crisis of 2007-08 is quite an emblematic example. Therefore, states and financial institutions have united to establish standards as for financial services like the Basel Committee. Only one case about prudential measures in the realm of financial services has been decided thus far at the WTO. In this case, adjudicators heavily utilized the recourse to the ordinary meaning of the main GATS expressions surrounding the prudential measures. This recourse may limit the aid that international norms other than the WTO legislation may provide when resolving issues related to the GATS prudential exception. Still according to the adjudicators, the prudential exception at issue is of evolutionary nature, evolving over time to adapt to particular situations. Besides, there has to be a rational relationship between the measures and their reasons."

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".

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."

More worries about GATS (The Guardian letters 2002)

"Under GATS, the more a service is exercised in competition or on a commercial basis the more it appears that a service can be opened to liberalisation. In health, the involvement of the private sector in the NHS may mean that the NHS would fall under Gats rules. The re-emergence of a market in the NHS, the new "localism" of primary care trusts and foundation hospitals which will have their own financial freedoms, the proposed privately run diagnostic and treatment centres, the use of overseas clinical teams, agreements with the independent sector for integrated care and the contracting out of support services call into question the assumption that the NHS is exempt from Gats. Services liberalisation under the Gats could mean the last rites for the NHS and other public services. The government needs to clarify the terms of Gats to ensure public services remain out of reach. What we don't want is to leave the NHS awaiting a trade challenge. We plan to call on the government via the DTI's consultation on Gats to press for greater clarity in its wording, to ensure that public services are exempt and to undertake an impact assessment of the GATS before it commits itself to an irreversible process. Warren Glover Chartered Society of Physiotherapy GLOVERW@csp.org.uk (2002)"

WTO Secretariat. Health and social services: background note by the Secretariat S/C/W/50, 18 September, 1998 (98-3558)

“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 other words healthcare "public options" like the UK's NHS must be subject to WTO globalization rules such as GATS' rules on services liberalization and competition.

What's the Matter With NAFTA?

by Elaine Bernard, Harvard University School of Law. (1993) A good intro to FTA concepts and it illustrates how shamelessly we've beeen manipulated. (and for SO long too) "Here's an example from the investment chapter of NAFTA, Chapter 11. Section 4 of Article 1101 on Scope states "Nothing in this Chapter shall be construed to prevent a Party from providing a service or performing a function, such as law enforcement, correctional services, income security or insurance, social security or insurance, social welfare, public education, public training, health and child care, in a manner that is not inconsistent with this Chapter." This utterly confusing statement is a standard paragraph found in many of the chapters of NAFTA. Double negatives such as "not inconsistent" are common language in many trade agreements. They are a trade lawyer's version of a positive assertion. That is, they allow the drafters to avoid a clear assertion that something is permitted. Instead, activities are crypticly permitted as "not inconsistent." Double, indeed quadruple negatives are positive assertions. Imagine for a moment how the drafters of NAFTA would have phrased the famous quote "Yes, Virginia there is a Santa Claus" into "NAFTAese." It would probably have read, "Yes, Virginia, nothing should be construed to prevent you from believing that the existence of Santa Claus is not inconsistent with reality." But what of the substance of this clause and of similarly written clauses? Here's the real problem. Essentially, it says that the services listed in the paragraph, from corrections to childcare, from public education to social security are to be open to the various investment (and services) provisions of NAFTA. This includes giving companies the rights of national treatment, the right of establishment, and exposing these services to tri-national harmonization. Terrific! This illustrates some of the problems with both the language but also the substance of what is being proposed in this agreement. But why NAFTA, and why now? On the one hand, there is a larger economic story about globalization and the increased mobility of capital, increasing international competition, deregulation, privatization and the business quest for lower wages and higher profits. However, the specific drive behind NAFTA is a business fear that growing public demands for control, called re-regulation, over the excesses of capital and business in the last decades could lead to restrictive legislation. Business fears the possibility of a change in government in all three countries, and it realizes that it could face a change in policy. With NAFTA, business has locked in the policies of Bush, Salinas, Mulroney."

The Selling of "Clinton Lite"

It should be noted that the (WTO) GATS negotiations - part of the Uruguay Round, which "made services tradable", and *took them off the table as something domestic regulations are supposed to be able to change*, (in order to give international investors 'certainty'), had been going on for several years and were wrapped up by 1994. That's a VERY important, easy to verify, fact that most Americans (and Britons it seems as well) have trouble digesting. Also note: There is a companion article to this one, "A Cautionary Tale for David Brooks and Others: What, really, was Jim Cooper’s ‘Clinton Lite?’" URL:https://archives.cjr.org/campaign_desk/a_cautionary_tale_for_david_br.php - Also interesting is an article What's The Matter With NAFTA by Elaine Bernard Harvard School of Law. , especially the portion (also entitled "A Cautionary Tale") starting at the bottom of page 8 Also use Archive.org URL: https://web.archive.org/web/20150611163515/http://www.law.harvard.edu/programs/lwp/nafta.pdf

A Cautionary Tale for David Brooks and Others What, really, was Jim Cooper’s ‘Clinton Lite?’

It should be noted that the GATS negotiations - part of the Uruguay Round, which "made services tradable", and took them off the table as something domestic regulations are supposed to be able to change, were wrapping up at the same time this was all going on. Making it qualify as something other than a "debate" over future policy. Instead, its more of a simulacrum. This is still the case today, one should understand. Still, its all worth reading. Note: There is a companion article to this one, which can be found at (Use archive.org) https://web.archive.org/web/20080607133503/http://backissues.cjrarchives.org/year/94/2/clinton.asp

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.