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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.

Fed Economist Cheers Middle Class Squeeze

"This isn’t one rogue economist. This is a highly trained government official in a position of authority who says he just doesn’t care whether cities are places where the middle class can live. His remark is entirely in keeping with a decades-long series of policy decisions that makes life for the middle class last priority. A new Brookings Report shows that the middle is disappearing from New York, San Francisco, and dozens of other cities. And that’s just peachy, says the only government official quoted in the story. If no one really cares, then how much easier will it be to cut loose the middle class entirely? Why worry about predatory lending and home mortgage foreclosures, why regulate tricks and traps in credit cards or payday lenders, why fix public schools or think about how to provide universal health insurance? The rich are doing fine, and, according to the Federal Reserve economist, so long as service labor can be imported from elsewhere, life without the middle class goes on very nicely."

The Great Divide: Rich People Just Care Less

Why do wealthy people often act dismissively to, or ignore those they perceive as below them in class? A growing body of recent research shows that people with the most social power pay scant attention to those with little such power. This tuning out has been observed, for instance, with strangers in a mere five-minute get-acquainted session, where the more powerful person shows fewer signals of paying attention, like nodding or laughing. The more powerful were less compassionate toward the hardships described by the less powerful. Dacher Keltner, a professor of psychology at Berkeley, and Michael W. Kraus, an assistant professor of psychology at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, have done much of the research on social power and the attention deficit...

The Practical Utility of (physician) GAG CLAUSE legislation. (1998)

"State legislatures and the U.S. Congress are currently engaged in efforts to prohibit “gag” clauses in physician contracts.1, 2 These clauses, promulgated by managed care organizations (MCOs) and other such health plans, prohibit physicians from frankly discussing all treatment options, covered or uncovered, expensive or inexpensive, that could be of benefit to the patient. For example, one clause reads: “Do NOT discuss proposed treatments with [health plan] members prior to receiving authorization. Do NOT discuss the [utilization oversight] process with members. Do NOT give out [plan's oversight] phone number to members.”"

“Right now, the deck is stacked against patients,” “Healthcare reform is not going to change the ball game.”

By Lisa Girion, Los Angeles Times - (October 2010) "Yet a patient’s ability to fight insurers’ coverage decisions could be more important than ever because Congress, in promoting cost containment and price competition, may actually add to the pressure on insurers to deny requests for treatment. "By requiring insurers to cover everyone, regardless of pre-existing conditions, healthcare reform will make it more difficult for insurers to control their costs, or “bend the cost curve,” by avoiding sick people. That leaves insurers with the other big cost-containment tool: turning down requests to cover treatments. “There are going to be a lot of denials,” said insurance industry analyst Robert Laszewski, a former health insurance executive. “I am not setting insurance companies up to be villains. But we are telling them to bend the cost curve. How else are they going to bend the cost curve?” Experts said the legislation under consideration does not significantly enhance patient protections against insurers refusing to cover requests for treatment. Most people currently have no right to challenge health insurers’ treatment decisions by suing them for damages."

G.A.T.S. and Universities: implications for research.

by David Packham, Sci Eng Ethics 9, 85-100(2003) The likely impact of applying the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) to higher education are examined. GATS aims to "open up" services to competition: no preference can be shown to national or government providers. The consequences for teaching are likely to be that private companies, with degree-awarding powers, would be eligible for the same subsidies as public providers. Appealing to the inadequate recently-introduced "benchmark" statements as proof of quality, they would provide a "bare bones" service at lower cost. Public subsidies would go: education being reduced that minimum which could be packaged in terms of verifiable "learning outcomes". The loss of "higher" aspirations, such education of critically-minded citizens of a democratic and civilised society would impoverish the university's research culture which demands honesty and openness to public scrutiny.

American Health Care Horror Stories: An Incomplete Inventory

The statistics demonstrating the scope of our nation’s healthcare crisis are appalling enough. Two of three Americans report skipping needed care each year due to cost, including not filling prescriptions or putting off doctor visits. Millions are forced to borrow money to pay medical bills, leading to crushing debt. Others can’t get the care they need even by borrowing, and suffer fatal consequences: physician researchers estimate tens of thousands of Americans die each year due to inability to afford care.

TiSA - Foul Play

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

Boeing’s 737 Max Software Outsourced to $9-an-Hour Engineers

Planemaker and suppliers used lower-paid temporary workers. Engineers feared the practice meant code wasn’t done right. It remains the mystery at the heart of Boeing Co.’s 737 Max crisis: how a company renowned for meticulous design made seemingly basic software mistakes leading to a pair of deadly crashes. Longtime Boeing engineers say the effort was complicated by a push to outsource work to lower-paid contractors. The Max software -- plagued by issues that could keep the planes grounded months longer after U.S. regulators this week revealed a new flaw -- was developed at a time Boeing was laying off experienced engineers and pressing suppliers to cut costs.

AFSC:Trade Agreements and Guest Worker Programs

Trade agreements lock in entitlements for foreign firms to take publicly funded jobs if they are the lowest qualified bidders, they also must give foreign companies such abnormally favorable conditions that it is almost certain they will be.

AFSC: State issues affecting Government Procurement

"Don’t Make Trade Commitments Affecting Our State Unless We Authorize It," "Does WTO Limit Local Authority? Proposed Commission Would Explore Impact of “Free Trade”" many others (trade agreements offshore millions of public service jobs like teaching, construction, and nursing, as a bargaining chip in global power, they potentially block domestic programs like Green New Deal, public housing, rent control, zoning restrictions, etc.)

Informal Brief: The WTO Services Negotiations and Migrant Workers (AFSC)

As the World Trade Organization (WTO) gears up for the next ministerial meeting to be held December 2005 in Hong Kong, some developing country governments are pushing for an expansion of the types of labor currently covered under the services agreement. Under the WTO’s General Agreement on Trade and Services (GATS), services are categorized into four “modes”. These include: Mode 1 ­ Providing services abroad Mode 2 ­ Consumption of services abroad Mode 3 ­ Commercial Presence ­ Subsidiary branches including service providers such as a banks, hospitals, or construction ­firms that are owned by a foreign company Mode 4 – Temporary movement of natural persons (workers) acro ss boarders to provide services Mode 4 and temporary workers Sectors currently covered under GATS Mode 4 commitments focus on highly skilled jobs, such as doctors, nurses, company executives—sectors favored by current visa systems. Also favored by current commitments are categories of special importance to Mode 3, commercial presence, such as intra­company transferees. Some developing country governments want to expand services covered under Mode 4 to include medium and low ­skilled workers, such as domestic help or construction, thus covering sectors in which they hold a competitive advantage.

The Spider's Web: Britain's Second Empire (Documentary)

This is a documentary about the "City of London" and its powerful lobby. (which was pivotal and complicit in the creation of the undemocratic GATS+trade in services agreement. TISAz0 See also Nicholas Shaxson's book Treasure Islands and the video interview linked here with him, You will see the connections. Its kind of obvious. )

Baudrillard: Simulacra and Simulations

from Jean Baudrillard, Selected Writings, ed. Mark Poster (Stanford; Stanford University Press, 1988), pp.166-184. The simulacrum is never that which conceals the truth--it is the truth which conceals that there is none. The simulacrum is true. (This essay is relevant to the question of what is truth, when there are multiple competing simulacra, none completely true)

International Approach to Liberalisation of Trade in Financial Services - doctoral thesis on Financial Services Regulation

This is a high quality, law book by Professor Bart De Meester. whose writing style is very readable on trade deals regulation of financial services- especially banking, very relevant to the mess we find ourselves in today.. Especially see: INTERNATIONAL APPROACH TO LIBERALISATION OF TRADE IN BANKING SERVICES see CHAPTER III.2 LIMITATIONS ON THE RIGHT OF WTO MEMBERS TO REGULATE THE BANKING SECTOR

Proportionality analysis and models of judicial review

Proportionality analysis describes a particular legal technique of resolving conflicts between human or constitutional rights and public interests through a process of balancing. As a general tendency, the current vivid academic debate on proportionality pays, however …

Sanya Reid Smith explains what TISA does in a way people should be able to see blocks Medicare For All

A new Medicare For All (as opposed to one that pre-existed GATS and the WTO) seems to conflict with everything TISA stands for. Note that TISA is also supposed to be merged with GATS in the future. Medicare For All would be a ""new monopoly" (forbidden by GATS) and a "state owned enterprise" that "affects trade in" "financial services" (health insurance for example) Altering the conditions of competition, and it also would potentially be trade distorting. It also would not be "no more burdensome than necessary" (to ensure the quality of the service) as the WTO GATS requires. The scope of those affected would likely also be seen as far too large for any government measure. As long as we are in these deals it would likely have to be the least possible.

No Watertight Compartments: Trade Agreements, International Health Care Reform, and the Legal Politics of Public Sector Exemptions

Debates over the legal interpretation of trade treaty (WTO and NAFTA) exemption clauses for public services display a common pattern. Critics of trade agreements argue that these clauses are likely to be narrowly interpreted, providing scant protection from international trade rules to public health care. Defenders usually argue that they will be given a reasonably expansive definition and that trade obligations (at least the more onerous WTO national treatment obligations) will generally not apply to public health care services. This paper argues that although the optimism of trade agreement defenders may be well-founded when viewed from a static perspective, the protection afforded by exemption clauses shrinks with the expansion of market elements in health care. Hence, the major implication of such “carve-outs” for health policy makers will not be the liberty to engage in “business as usual”, but rather the need to assess the trade-related risks associated with market-based reform in the future. This paper analyses the WTO and NAFTA provisions limiting the application of these trade agreements to the health care sector in terms of the various risk scenarios posed by different models of health care reform.

The Debts of Corruption by Patricia Adams

A global movement is asking Western nations to forgive 'odious' debt extended to despotic regimes. The cause has merit, but opposition is building. Tomorrow, a coalition of Canadian churches will present the government with one of the largest petitions in Canadian history – 600,000 signatures calling to cancel the foreign debt of heavily indebted Third World countries. Using biblical language, the Jubilee 2000 coalition asks the prime minister to free the oppressed of their debts by the start of the new millennium. So do the Pope, the Dalai Lama, other top religious leaders, and Jubilee 2000 coalitions formed in 155 countries to oversee this groundswell movement, which has collected seven million signatures to date, and still counting. The petitions will be submitted to the G7 leaders at their meeting in Cologne, Germany, this June. Sensing a political nightmare – as well as an opportunity to cleanse their books of embarrassing loans – the G7 governments, the World Bank, and even the International Monetary Fund are scrambling to produce debt relief proposals to appease the activists. The U.K. believes $50-billion in debt forgiveness is feasible (all figures in U.S. dollars); the U.S. proposal, led by Bill Clinton, aims for $100-billion

Advancing the Odious Debt Doctrine

by Ashfaq Khalfan, Jeff King and Bryan Thomas. McGill University legal scholars have completed an investigation into the Doctrine of Odious Debts, and concluded that it is both "morally compelling" and "relatively well supported under international law". Centre for International Sustainable Development Law (CISDL), Montreal, March 11/2003

Track 2 of the GATS

The GATS is a scheme to remake society and the world of work, lowering wages and increasing competitive pressures to make business more profitable for trans-national corporations globally. Part of this scheme is recognition of professional qualifications so that professionals can be treated like interchangeable parts in a machine.

"the problematic global regime of financial DE-regulation" Lori Wallach

slideshow - for TACD (this is very good and explains the so called global economic governance orgs and how we got where we are today in a fairly brief concise manner. Its a real mess as that system places huge risks onto the people of the world while offloading the profits to a very few.. manufacturing fake consent that does not exist. )

Foreign Policy In Focus | U.S. Immigration Policy on the Table at the WTO

Should temporary migration to labor become a corporate entitlement managed by the WTO to lower wage costs for businesses globally? They want to increase competition between workers for jobs internationally, to lower wages in high wage nations. The argument that any of this would trickle down to the poor doesn't really stand up to scrutiny.

Million Dollar Shack: Trapped in Silicon Valley's Housing Bubble

"Our family has been priced out! Has the Bay Area gone crazy? Real estate prices have doubled in the last few years, a tent in the backyard can rent for $900/month, foreign investors are driving up prices, evictions and rent hikes are everywhere, people are commuting longer than ever, the middle class is disappearing, empty investment homes are everywhere, and locals are leaving in record numbers. The worst part? Some people are calling it "progress"". ‪ http://milliondollarshack.com/

European Education Association: International Trade Agreements page

This is the new URL for the EUA's statements on trade agreements, but their server's mime-type headers are broken. To download you must save the file with its wrong extension, then change the file name to something appropriate and the extension to pdf. Hopefully it will be fixed soon.

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

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

Statement on WTO GATS Mode 4 Negotiations by 77 Civil Society Organizations

“The WTO has no mandate to negotiate migration policy, nor should it,” said a statement released today by 77 groups from several countries. - - Signers include large human rights and labor organizations, including Migrant Rights International, the Teamsters Union, the American Friends Service Committee, Public Services International, the National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (USA), Migrant Forum Asia, Welfare Association of Repatriated Bangladeshi Employees, ATTAC Mazowsze (Poland), National Union of Public and General Employees (Canada), and the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women-Asia Pacific (Philippines).

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

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

Black wealth/white wealth: A new perspective on racial inequality

Black Wealth/White Wealth represents an attempt to understand one of America's most persistent dilemmas: racial inequality. We approach this topic with much trepidation. However, we feel that the analysis presented here will foster new approaches to this …

The Clinton legacy for America's poor

This paper examines the impact of Clinton era social policy changes on the poor. It explores shifts in incentives, behavior, and incomes and discusses the role Clinton did or did not play in influencing the policy mix and the nature of the political debate surrounding poverty. Policy changes included a radical shift in welfare policy, a sizable expansion in supports for low income workers with children, new child support enforcement measures, more restricted support for immigrants, and altered housing policies. Partly as a result of these policies, but ...

GATS and public services

Mary Bottari, an attorney for Public Citizen Global Trade Watch speaks about how GATS captures public services policy. She is at a media conference so she talks about capture that could limit public sponsorship of media.

Trade in Healthcare and Health Insurance Services: The GATS as a Supporting Actor (Rudolf Adlung / WTO)

Staff Working Paper ERSD-2009-15, December 2009, World Trade Organization, Economic Research and Statistics Division Note: Unlike the European countries, the US has made extensive GATS commitments in this area which can be found in the US's Specific Commitments Supplement 3. At the same time, the US does not have a safety net in this area despite having made commitments that limit what we can do greatly. This is an inappropriate and dysfunctional combination.

Analysis of TISA's Annex on Financial Services

By Jane Kelsey - This is an excellent analysis of the aims of this far reaching and anti-democratic "agreement" that *nobody* would agree with. It is nothing less than a global coup that lowers global standards to a least common denominator, shredding professional standards, accountability and expectations of fairness in financial services, and lowering wages and working conditions. Note: Don't confuse this Annex with GATS' Annex on Financial Services.

The WhistleBlower: Confessions of a Healthcare Hitman

By Peter Rost, MD This book is about drug prices, by a former Pfizer VP of marketing- An inside view of the drug industry, an industry that both saves the lives of people who have enough money to buy its increasingly expensive products, and also lobbies all around the world to keep its prices high. I'd also recommend watching the film "Fire in the Blood", which Peter Rost, the book's author, appears in, if you are interested in this subject.

The TISA Initiative: an overview of market access issues (WTO Staff Working Paper, No. ERSD-2013-11)

"Generally speaking, in a positive-list approach to scheduling commitments, market access and national treatment are granted only in the sectors expressly listed by each party in its schedule; for each sub-sector, the parties then indicate the level of commitment granted for each mode of supply. In contrast, in a negative-list approach, market access and national treatment apply fully to all covered service sectors, except to the extent that non-conforming measures (commonly referred to as “reservations”) providing otherwise have been listed in annexes. In other words, under this approach, everything is in principle liberalized unless specified otherwise in the annexes. In a positive-list approach, nothing is liberalized, unless expressly specified otherwise. Negative-list agreements also typically include a 'ratchet' mechanism, which automatically binds future liberalization for remaining existing non-conforming measures."

The Interaction between European and International Liberalisation of International Trade in Banking Services

by Bart De Meester - This is a doctoral thesis, a quite substantial tome, written like a textbook, on banking and the WTO, its particularly useful it seems because the areas I am interested in have gotten examination in the European context - here in the US where the GATS is not well known to put it mildly, perhaps not so much, at least I have not found much. Plus I cant afford to go out buying books on the subject, as they are expensive, really expensive. Anyway, this looks very informative and its quite understandable as these kinds of books go. I'm sure Mr. De Meester will do very well. Thank you!

Trading it away: how GATS threatens UK Higher Education

"Perhaps the most fundamental observation we make is that, while most of the advantages associated with the internationalisation of HE already lie outside the GATS framework, a significant number of dangers specific to the GATS trade regime lie within it. As a consequence, endorsing GATS as a framework in which to pursue the internationalisation of HE is taking a largely unnecessary risk. We divide our analysis into several sections. In Section 2, we provide a brief introduction to GATS, looking at its structure, the motivation behind its existence and some of the key controversies that are dogging the agreement. We outline 11 general concerns about GATS, and show how each could impact on UKHE. We then address the central question of the extent to which UKHE is currently protected by the so-called ‘public services’ exemption in GATS, and find that the exemption is of highly limited relevance to UKHE. This is likely to be of particular significance given that UKHE stands on the very cusp of liberalisation under GATS".

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

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

Towards Developing Subsidy Disciplines Under the GATS

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

Between centralization and fragmentation: the club model of multilateral cooperation and problems of democratic legitimacy

Robert O. Keohane and Joseph S. Nye, Jr. Paper prepared for the American Political Science Convention, Washington, D.C., August 31-September 3, 2000. "Globalization can be defined as a state of the world involving networks of interdependence at multicontinental distances. Globalization as we understand it refers to processes–economic, military, environmental and social–that strengthen or “thicken” these networks" … (discussions of the legitimacy or lack of it. About the "democratic deficit" or "democracy deficit", and what they lack- Its also about the discussion of legitimacy and its own glaring problems)

Exploring the Role Delaware Plays as a Domestic Tax Haven (2011)

Scott D. Dyreng Duke University scott.dyreng@duke.edu Bradley P. Lindsey College of William & Mary bradley.lindsey@mason.wm.edu Jacob R. Thornock University of Washington thornocj@uw.edu "We examine how corporate tax avoidance incentives play an incremental role in explaining why firms organize subsidiaries in the state of Delaware. We also quantify the extent to which Delaware-based subsidiaries reduce corporate effective tax rates. Findings suggest that firms are more likely to have subsidiaries in Delaware if they also have subsidiaries in other states with tax rules conducive to a common tax avoidance strategy involving Delaware corporations. This empirical result suggests that taxes influence the decision to organize subsidiaries in Delaware incremental to legal and/or governance factors. In addition, the tax benefits of incorporating and operating subsidiaries in the state of Delaware are economically meaningful. For a typical firm, we document a reduction in the state effective tax rate of approximately two percentage points. This represents a reduction in state taxes of nearly 50 percent of the average state effective tax rate of 4.6 percent."

The neoliberal (counter-) revolution

G Duménil, D Lévy There is a dramatic contrast between the last twenty years of the 20th century and the previous decades since World War II. It is common to describe the (previous) twenty years of capitalism as “neoliberalism”. Indeed, during the transition between the 1970s and 1980s, the functioning of capitalism was deeply transformed, both within countries of the center and in the periphery. The earlier capitalist configuration is often referred to as the “Keynesian compromise.” Without simplifying too much, those years could be characterized, in the center countries—United States (and Canada), Europe, and Japan—by large growth rates, sustained technological change, an increase in purchasing power and the development of a welfare system (concerning, in particular, health and retirement) and low unemployment rates. The situation deteriorated during the 1970s, as the world economy, in the wake of the decline of the profit rate, entered a “structural crisis.” Its main aspects were diminished growth rates, a wave of unemployment, and cumulative inflation. This is when the new social order, neoliberalism, emerged, first within the countries of the center—beginning with the United Kingdom and the United States—and then gradually exported to the periphery. We explore below the nature of neoliberalism and its balance sheet after nearly a quarter of a century. Neoliberalism is often described as the ideology of the market and private interests as opposed to state intervention. Although it is true that neoliberalism conveys an ideology and a propaganda of its own, it is fundamentally a new social order in which the power and income of the upper fractions of ruling classes—the wealthiest persons—was reestablished in the wake of a set back. Although the conditions which accounted for the structural crisis were gradually superseded, most of the world economy remained plagued by slow growth and unemployment, and inequality increased tremendously. This was the cost of a successful restoration of the income and wealth of the wealthiest

Middle classes losing out to ultra-rich

The middle class is being squeezed out by the rich all around the world. The center is being hollowed out. Dominant political parties are increasingly dishonest false flag operations. The goal is the destruction of trust and the creation of fascism, in order to disenfranchise voters and waste years of time when progressives win. To hide the dysfunction. The fact is, democracy has been taken away and after 20 years, captured actors are growing adept at hiding it under phony narratives. If its not one drama, its enother.

Offshoring companies are gaming the system to do an end run around US wage and hour laws, costing workers their jobs.

This is a good article. I thought that the H-1B visa is for grads of US colleges (foreign students) and that the L-1B visas are for foreign firms that bring in their own workers for typically around six years, at much lower wages. The L-1B workers have advanced degrees but are sometimes paid less than almost any other similarly skilled workers in the US. Its an especially exploitative situation for the foreign IT firms' workers. Who, if they are here, frankly should be able to earn what they are worth, and apply for citizenship after a few years. They shouldnt be exploited for cheap labor. But frankly, they are and its driving a huge amount of dishonesty in Washington. I would not be surprised if I found out healthcare was in part being held hostage, to manufacture a fake "crisis" as a means to get ultra cheap labor.

European University Association Statement on TTIP and TISA

"In the light of information currently available (published and leaked documents, official briefings, statements by governments and the European Commission) on the ongoing trade agreement negotiations, EUA notes that: 1. Negotiators regularly offer reassurances that public services will be protected. However, the GATS definition of a ‘public’ service is not adequate for purpose where higher education is concerned. HE is not administered by the exercise of government authority in the manner of defence, justice and police; it is not automatically excluded from trade negotiations. Moreover, HE fails to satisfy the GATS criteria which allow exemption for services supplied ‘neither on a commercial basis nor in competition with one or more service suppliers’. Many HE systems include both public and private providers and many public institutions depend on a mix of public and private funding. Such hybridity at system and institutional levels means that trade negotiations such as TTIP and TiSA cannot be conducted with legal certainty and clarity." (this was the very first bullet item on a long list) "The European University Association (EUA) represents over 850 universities in 47 countries, as well as 33 national rectors’ conferences. It is the voice of universities in the European Higher Education Area"

The Brave New (and Smaller) World of Higher Education

A Transatlantic View European University Association EUA American Council on Education Center for Institutional and International Initiatives - arket forces, globalization, internationalization, com- petition, new providers, cost efficiency—these descriptors of the brave new world of higher education appear consistently in any discus- sion of its future. Even when used in the same national context, such terms describe different phenomena and elicit different interpretations; cross-cultural conversa- tions are even more difficult. A shared understanding of the forces that are reshaping higher education within and among nations provides an essential founda- tion for the development of sound policy and effective institutional strategies to adapt to these new realities. Such challenges were the focus of the seventh Transatlantic Dialogue, cosponsored by the American Council on Education (ACE), the Asso- ciation of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC), and the European University Association (EUA) and hosted by the Université Laval in Quebec.