Site Purpose Discussion Draft

Don't fall for a huge, elaborate theatrical performance, global in scope, whose goal is locking in place forever something the people would never vote for.

Are trade agreements attempting to "justify" in an ad-hoc manner a previous involuntary capture of important policy (like - but not limited to national healthcare policy) by manufacturing an illusory "debate" and "consensus", while concealing numerous important material facts, most notably the fact that said policy had already been formally "decided" long before?

We discuss a great many issues here. In particular, our present and future policy space, in areas like health care, banking, higher education, housing, and other services of all kinds, as our ability to do what we need via democracy, is being taken by hidden trade agreements

Virtually unknown trade agreements like GATS,TISA and many others, that were signed long ago, or are currently being negotiated

This quote is from FPIF's "GATS and Women"

"Under GATS, the definition of service is ambiguous. According to GATS Article 1.3(b), only government services that are “supplied neither on a commercial basis nor in competition with one or more service suppliers” may be excluded from GATS coverage. Since most government services involve both competition and commercial provision, they wouldn’t be excluded. In a recent briefing session, the U.S. trade representative (USTR) legal counsel for GATS agreed that on a plain reading, public services such as health care, education, energy, and the provisioning of water would all be included in the GATS purview. However, this interpretation is not universally shared. In the UK, for example, the Department of Trade and Industry has stated that public services are exempt from the above definition. As these vastly different interpretations demonstrate, negotiators are moving forward without a clear understanding of what is covered under GATS.

Specifically, the scope of GATS includes all measures affecting trade in services. A “measure” can refer to virtually any government law, regulation, policy, procedure, or administrative action that may inadvertently or indirectly affect the supply of a service. The definition and range of services is so broad that local content requirements, the hiring of local workers, the hiring of minority or women workers, and community reinvestment programs could all be challenged under GATS as barriers to trade. Some policy specialists have even suggested that government incentives (for example a tax break if you hire local workers) that apply to local and foreign providers could be challenged on the grounds that they discriminate against similar services provided via the Internet."

(end quote)

FTA's cannot reach in and change national laws, however, by mutual agreement, they have the effect of creating property rights in policies, that in practice effectively cancel out the rights of voters at a higher, supranational level. shown by compensation that must be paid by taxpayers to corporations (or other countries) when policies are changed. These costs are designed to become impossibly prohibitive.

They create new entitlements for corporations. They define public services extremely narrowly, and unless we initiate a process to free ourselves from them now, via carve-outs and GATS Article XXI, the larger the value of the service sector, the more likely it will be to be impossibly costly getting our regulatory freedom back. The sanctions are designed to rapidly become too costly, a barrier which is likely intentional.

The situation with the GATS and South Africa's National Health Act,  illustrates the problem. 

Barriers put by the General Agreement on Trade in Services impact US health insurance and financial services regulation, environmental services, and higher education.

"Trade in services" "agreements" have been kept hidden, because they steal democracy and public services not just from us, from the entire world, and all of its people, locking in a corporate stranglehold on our future for a global oligarchy, attempting to frame all important needs as leading to neoliberal wish lists of voter rejected policy.

Start with our articles, both news and commentary, or our external links, which cover a broad range of subjects with the health care policy in the US near the top.

Some keywords which are useful are "explainer", video, and many legal concepts, for example, access-to-medicines, "austerity", right-to-regulatesubsidies, labor standards, women's rights, labor mobility, minimal trade restrictiveness, and many others.

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