GATS-agreement

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

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

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

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

GATS and Public Service Systems

This is a must-read article as its by far the most concise and understandable explanation of the "governmental authority exception" an all important "two-pronged test" or definition, that defines the scope of what is allowed to be a public service and what is not, in the GATS agreement. In other words, what is subject to privatization rules, and what isn't. This definition is also borrowed or imported, in the computer programming sense, "as is" into hundreds of other trade agreements all around the globe. So this essay is extremely useful in understanding which healthcare or higher education proposals could work (and which ones would be subjected to a death of a thousand cuts, and couldn't) for example. The essay was originally written and published by the government of British Columbia province in Canada.

Putting Health First - Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives

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

GATS and Financial Services Deregulation by Patricia Arnold

Medicare, Social Security and other governmentally subsidized financial services are put in grave danger by the GATS - This paper by a noted professor in accounting who has written a great deal of highly readable material on the WTO and its interaction with financial regulation is a short and concise intro to many of the major issues, particularly the threats GATS poses to Social Security and Medicare if those areas are allowed to compete with commercial banks or insurers. Caution is needed because millions could see huge changes in their only retirement benefits just as they were needed the most if Social Security and/or Medicare lose their protection from GATS rules, which is likely if current proposals are implemented,- see the Annex on Financial Services.

Public Citizen: "Presidential Candidates' Key Proposals on Healthcare and Climate Will Require WTO Modifications"(2008)

This essay's by Public citizen explains how the 2008 Presidential candidates proposals (just as today) all violated provisions of the GATS agreement and US 'commitments' and other trade rules and how those commitments were likely to conflict with the promises, making them impossible or very difficult to implement the longer we waited. The references are extremely useful. Highly recommended you read this if you are interested in healthcare in the US.

How the World Trade Organisation is shaping domestic policies in health care

(The Lancet) "The previous round of WTO ministerial talks (the Uruguayan round) allowed governments to protect health and social services from GATS treatment by defining them as government services. According to GATS Article 1.3, a government service is one “which is supplied neither on a commercial basis, nor in competition with one or more service suppliers”. Article 19 of GATS is, however, intended to end this protection. “Members shall enter into successive rounds of negotiations . . . with a view to achieving a progressively higher level of liberalisation.” The WTO secretariat has argued that for services to be classified under Article 1.3 they should be provided free. Many governments initially protected health services from GATS treatment by defining them in this way. But the WTO has highlighted the inconsistencies in this approach. 12 “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 addition, Article 13 of GATS calls for the end of subsidies that distort trade and requires members to negotiate procedures to combat them. Therefore, according to the WTO, wherever there is a mixture of public and private funding, such as user charge or private insurance, or there are subsidies for non-public infrastructure, such as public-private partnerships or competitive contracting for services, the service sector should be open to foreign corporations. Health-care systems across Europe are vulnerable on all these counts."

GATS Annex on Financial Services

This document potentially endangers the US's Social Security, Medicare and other safety net programs if they are partially privatized and compete with commercial entities. It is part of the GATS and its explained well by Patricia Arnold in her essay on GATS and Financial Regulation (Public Citizen). It contains a slightly different definition of 'services supplied as an exercise of governmental authority' than GATS Article 1:3 does, which applies in certain situations. To understand it you should also read Nicholas Skala's 2009 paper in the International Journal of Health Services and the Understanding on Commitments in Financial Services. You can also find a bit more material online if you search on the phrase "Fu Lung" or "Fu Lung Group" in the context of financial services+WTO or the Uruguay Round. It seems an effort is made to make information on FTAS difficult to find for outsiders.

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

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

Federalism in an Era of International Free Trade THE GENERAL AGREEMENT ON TRADE IN SERVICES AND THE REGULATION OF INSURANCE IN THE UNITED STATES

(A student paper that is mostly about states rights and their potential conflict with GATS. However its quite useful because the author seems to have collected references from many other essays and papers in one place, and formatted them for legal citation. Won an ABA award.) by Ethan Marks in Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Law Journal Vol. 50, No. 1 (FALL 2014), pp. 129-154 Published by: American Bar Association "This paper placed first in the 2014 law student writing competition of the Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Section" (RIP Nicholas Skala)

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

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

Lori Wallach discusses 'standstill' in this short video on Democracy Now

Note: THIS ALSO APPLIES TO TODAY'S US HEALTH INSURANCE, because it is a financial service, and IMPORTANT- people will always try to confuse you saying (GATS or) TISA does not apply to "public services" HA! Let me clue you in, that's an old GATS trick. THAT TERM DOES NOT APPLY TO ANY US PUBLIC SERVICE I CAN THINK OF, and the only UNDER ANY GATS DEFINITION, SO NOT EXEMPT. It doesn't even apply to the UK's NHS, although their government claims it does. It should apply to Canada. Because they don't sell any health insurance that competes with their Medicare, and it also predated the WTO's creation. Just them. See our info on "government authority exclusion" - Sorry! - The Trade in Services Agreement extends the WTO GATS agreement and does so in a way that attempts to legitimize it retrospectively, it seems. IMPORTANT!- It even uses the (1990s) dates from the GATS agreement. Could it really act as a standstill effective in the 1990s exposing later attempts at regulation to challenge and roll back? It seems as if that is what is happening. (speculation on my part) Why?

Ellen Gould discusses GATS on Talking Stick TV.

Video - Ellen Gould is a trade expert whose insight here is quite accurate. See what she tells us here about domestic regulations, technical standrds, licensing, medical standards, everything. Lots of info on what they want to do with healthcare. The WTO could sanction us if we wanted our doctors to meet higher standards than those in the developing countries. (around 25:00) The WTO also wants us to allow for profit offshoring of poor patients. Which would be subject to the same problems as the for profit system does now, except likely worse, with less accountability.

Facing Facts

Both proponents and critics agree that the scope of the GATS is very broad. Its extraordinary breadth derives from the incredible diversity of services, the architecture of the agreement, and the expansive way the GATS defines key terms. The subject matter of the GATS—services—is almost unimaginably broad. Services range from birth (midwifery) to death (burial); the trivial (shoe-shining) to the critical (heart surgery); the personal (haircutting) to the social (primary education); low-tech (household help) to high-tech (satellite communications); and from our wants (retail sales of toys) to our needs (water distribution). The GATS applies to all measures affecting “trade in services,” broadly defined. It covers measures taken by all levels of government, including central, regional, and local governments. It also applies to professional associations, standards-setting bodies, and boards of hospitals, schools and universities, where these bodies exercise authority conferred upon them by any level of government. In other words, no government action, whatever its purpose - protecting the environment, safeguarding consumers, enforcing labour standards, promoting fair competition, ensuring universal service or any other end—is, in principle, beyond GATS scrutiny and potential challenge. --- As a former director general of the WTO has correctly noted, the GATS extends “into areas never before recognized as trade policy.” Not limited to cross-border trade, it extends to every possible means of providing a service internationally, including investment. While this broad application does not mean all services-related measures violate the treaty, it does mean that any regulatory or legislative initiative in any WTO-member country must now be vetted for GATS consistency or risk possible challenge. The treaty covers “any service in any sector” with only limited exceptions; no service sector is excluded a priori. This all-inclusive framework binds member governments to certain GATS rules that already apply across all sectors—even those where no specific commitments have been made. It also means that all service sectors are on the table in ongoing, continuous negotiations."

TISA - The Really Good Friends of Transnational Corporations Agreement by Ellen Gould

Highly secretive talks began in 2012 to establish a new trade agreement, the Trade in Services Agreement (TISA). The group of countries 1 negotiating TISA have given themselves an insider joke for a name, the 'Really Good Friends of Services' 2 , to signal how truly committed they are to promoting the interests of services corporations. But there is nothing funny about the sweeping, permanent restrictions on public services and regulation that could be the impact of their work.

How the World Trade Organization’s new “services” negotiations threaten democracy

Scott Sinclair: Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. The GATS is extraordinarily broad, dealing with every service imaginable. It applies to measures of all governments, whether federal, First Nation, provincial, state, regional or municipal. It employs both “top-down” and “bottom-up” approaches to covering measures and sectors. The agreement is not confined to cross-border trade, but intrudes into many domestic policy areas including environment, culture, natural resources, health care, education and social services.

GATS Backgrounder from Public Citizen (2005)

“Governments are free in principle to pursue any national policy objectives provided the relevant measures are compatible with the GATS.” –WTO, Oct. 1999 “GATS provides guarantees over a much wider field of regulation and law than the GATT; the right of establishment and the obligation to treat foreign services suppliers fairly and objectively in all relevant areas of domestic regulation extend the reach of the Agreement into areas never before recognized as trade policy.” Good intro to/overview of GATS-

Video: GATS- What is it?

Concise, very fast video cram course on GATS by an expert in it. Don't blink or you might miss something important.

Public Services and the GATS - International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development

Rashad Cassim & Ian Steuart, School of Economic and Business Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg - (3rd Draft) "The strength of a society depends unequivocally upon a foundation that ensures the provision of a range of quality public services to all who need them, regardless of their ability to pay for them. It is perhaps perplexing then that the provision of public services, even those thought of as essential or basic services, is increasingly in the hands of private companies, leading inexorably to their commercialisation, threatening their reach to those that need them most, and potentially eroding the sustainability of their provision from both a social and environmental perspective. This subchapter aims to achieve the following: to provide an overview of the role and relevance of public services, and to examine the link between the provision of public services and the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS); the primary vehicle of the liberalisation of services within a multilateral, rules-based system of international trade and therefore an area of specific concern. Consequently, with respect to the first aim, this subchapter will examine the evolution of “public services” and why it remains important to retain an element of government intervention in their provision. With respect to the second, the chapter will focus on the scope of the GATS and the tensions inherent in the interpretation of Article 1:3 of the GATS, which deals with the “public services” carve-out from the agreement. This subchapter is divided into 5 sections. After this Introduction, Section 2 will examine what is meant by “public services”, including the usefulness of the more restrictive conception of “essential” or “basic” services. Section 3 focuses on the role of public services in addressing sustainable development concerns, particularly the relationship between public services and their privatisation. Section 4 is devoted to the relationship between public services and the GATS. Much has been written on public services and the liberalisation of trade and this section aims at synthesis of arguments on both sides of the divide, which have become increasingly more vocal and passionate as the services negotiations in the WTO proceed as part of the Doha Development Round. Section 5 concludes."

The GATS’ Article I, paragraph 3.... (and libraries)

What is Article 1:3? Article 1, Paragraph 3 of the GATS defines the scope of the agreement as follows: (b) “services” includes any service in any sector except services supplied in the exercise of governmental authority; (c) “a service supplied in the exercise of governmental authority” means any service which is supplied neither on a commercial basis, nor in competition with one or more service suppliers. What it really means...Clause (c) above constitutes the potential danger to libraries and the public sector. It appears to mean that “if a service is provided on a non-commercial basis but in competition with other suppliers or on a commercial basis but without competition, it is not a service supplied in exercise of governmental authority.” (1) (and so has to be privatized - it canot be allowed to exist as is, under GATS rules)

Global Trade and Public Health

"Global trade and international trade agreements have transformed the capacity of governments to monitor and to protect public health, to regulate occupational and environmental health conditions and food products, and to ensure affordable access to medications". (This basically means they have stolen the right to regulate, or are in the process of stealing it.)

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

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

Interpretation of Article I, Section 3 (b) and (c) of GATS - PublicServicesScope

This is another article discussing the important "governmental authority exception" which defines the scope of GATS jurisdiction. (and what can be seen as a public service under GATS, the definition is very narrow- everything else is subject to all sorts of rules which bar government subsidization except if its 'minimally trade restrictive') - by Markus Krajewski

WTO - legal texts - Understanding on Commitments in Financial Services

"As of 2009, the 33 countries whose current schedules reference the Understanding include: Australia, Austria, Bulgaria, Canada, Czech Republic, Finland, Hungary, Iceland, Japan, Liechtenstein, New Zealand, Norway, Slovak Republic, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United States, as well as the European Communities members as of 1994 (Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and the United Kingdom.) The only developing nations that utilized the Understanding were Aruba, Netherland Antilles, Nigeria, Sri Lanka (for banking not insurance), and Turkey. Additionally, eight countries (Cyprus, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Romania, and Slovenia) were in the process of revising their commitments to match the EC schedule" (from the commentary by Jane Kelsey on TISA Financial Services text) -- This document regulates government regulation of financial services like banking and insurance, including health insurance, greatly limiting what we can do. In particular it is thought to freeze new financial services regulations after its signing date, unless they were enumerated then. In the case of the US that date is February 26, 1998. If challenged in a WTO dispute proceeding a country that has violated a "standstill" may have to roll back its regulatory state to the level of regulation in effect on that date. A related concept, "ratchet" is also said to apply in WTO law - it denotes a one way capture of all deregulation in a committed sector making it a violation to re-regulate. See the definitions of "standstill", "rollback" and "ratchet" in trade parlance.

Joint Declaration on the GATS agreement and Higher Education

Public higher education is under attack, globally. This attack begun in an WTO agreement called the General Agreement on Trade in Services, or 'GATS'. This is a statement on the GATS by the organizations that accredit literally thousands of universities in the US, Canada, and the EU, including the European University Association on whose web site it is hosted.

Trading Health Care Away? GATS, Public Services and Privatisation

"But talks have since begun to change one of the 28 agreements overseen by the WTO -- the General Agreement on Trade in Services or GATS. The US, EU, Japan and Canada are trying to revise GATS so that it could be used to overturn almost any legislation governing services from national to local level. And non-government organisations (NGOs) and trade unions are demanding that services in the public interest be clearly exempt from GATS. It details how public services may not in fact be excluded from GATS and explores the implications for public health care."

How the World Trade Organisation is shaping domestic policies in health care

David Price, Allyson M Pollock, Jean Shaoul, THE LANCET - Vol 354 - November 27,1999, pp. 1889-1891 "Multinational and transnational corporations, including the pharmaceutical, insurance, and service sectors, are lining up to capture the chunks of gross domestic product that governments currently spend on public services such as education and health. The long tradition of European welfare states based on solidarity through community risk-pooling and publicly accountable services is being dismantled. The US and European Union governments are aggressively backing this project in the interests of their business corporations. But the assault on our hospitals and schools and public-service infrastructure depends ultimately on a promise from one government to another to expand private markets. Such promises can be kept only if domestic opposition to privatisation is held in check. We need to constantly reassert the principles and values on which European health-care systems are based and resist the WTO agenda"

GATT-PUNTA DEL ESTE DECLARATION

This is the declaration -made on September 20, 1986 - in Punta Del Este, part of the Uruguay Round, where services were officially inserted into the GATT talks that were to become the WTO. So its when the US began to lose its regulatory autonomy. Despite its brevity, in retrospect, this became in every sense a deal between the world's oligarchs to put aside democracy and lock down the future. Note that this meeting and document were also referenced in UN document A/RES/44/232 "Trends in the transfer of resources to and from the developing countries and their impact on the economic growth and sustained development of those countries"

The Scope of GATS and of Its Obligations by Bregt Natens, Jan Wouters

Bregt Natens, Jan Wouters - KU Leuven - Leuven Centre for Global Governance Studies Date Written: August 1, 2013 Abstract The GATS preamble already highlights the inevitable conflict between on the one hand achieving progressively higher levels of liberalization of trade in services in order to expand trade in services and promote growth, and on the other hand the right to introduce new regulation to meet national policy objectives. Hence, it was clear from the outset that the balance between trade liberalisation and domestic regulatory autonomy would be key in interpreting the constructively ambiguous GATS. The outcome of this exercise depends on three factors: the interpretation of (i) GATS’ overarching objectives, (ii) of the general scope of GATS and of the obligations arising from it (and the exceptions to them) and (iii) of the inherent individual flexibility of GATS. Whilst also touching on the first, this contribution mainly focuses on the second factor by addressing the scope of GATS, of its unconditional obligations, of obligations applying to sectors for which specific commitments have been scheduled and of obligations in GATS Annexes. Additionally, it provides an overview of the structure of GATS obligations. The third factor is mainly addressed throughout textboxes which provide an illustrative insight into how the European Union has used the inherent GATS flexibility to shape its obligations. Keywords: WTO, World Trade Organization, GATS, General Agreement on Trade in Services, services, scope, obligations, governmental authority exception

The politics of the private finance initiative and the new NHS

"This is the last of four articles on Britain's public-private partnership in health care We began this series by arguing that the private finance initiative, far from being a new source of funding for NHS infrastructure, is a financing mechanism that greatly increases the cost to the taxpayer of NHS capital development. The second paper showed that the justification for the higher costs of the private finance initiative—the transfer of risk to the private sector—was not borne out by the evidence. The third paper showed the impact of these higher costs at local level on the revenue budgets of NHS trusts and health authorities, is to distort planning decisions and to reduce planned staffing and service levels."

A/RES/44/232. Trends in the transfer of resources to and from the developing countries and their impact on the economic growth and sustained development of those countries

Note Paragraph F, which refers to the meeting in Punta Del Este, Uruguay that established the process that led to the creation of the WTO and begun a "standstill" during which time Member nations were to stop making regulations of any kind which impeded this goal (thats how they frame the expansion or especially creation of what we call public services.) So after that point, we were legally bound not to create a public healthcare system, a problem that continues to this day. So, all around the world, often politicians promising changes that are blocked by these treaties. Instead, a great many countries including (especially) the US and the other countries that made commitments in those areas are bound.

GATS and Congress

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

General Agreement on Trade in Services: negotiations concerning Domestic Regulations under GATS Article VI(4)

(November 24, 2000) "In the current preparatory negotiations on services (part of the “built-in” agenda at the WTO) governments are developing positions regarding GATS Article VI(4) which requires the development of “disciplines” on countries’ domestic regulations over services. Specifically, the article seeks to prevent “unnecessary barriers to trade” in regulations regarding “qualification requirements and procedures, technical standards and licensing requirements” and to ensure that regulations are “not more burdensome than necessary to ensure the quality of the service.” In our view, this entire exercise is unjustified. There should be no role for the WTO in overseeing non-discriminatory domestic regulations (those which do not discriminate in standards and qualifications based on nationality.) This exercise represents a wholly unwarranted intrusion of trade law into important domestic public safety laws".

Four modes of WTO

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

Medicaid Expansion in Health Reform Not Likely to “Crowd Out” Private Insurance

"Contrary to claims by some critics, the Medicaid expansion in the new health reform law will overwhelmingly provide coverage to people who otherwise would be uninsured, rather than shift people who already have private coverage to Medicaid." --- comment: This concept of "crowd-out" was literally created by the GATS and it's concept of minimal trade restrictiveness which requires that all government-subsidized measures be the most minimal possible - as well as possibly time limited, for example, only available to either an individual for only a few years, or possibly a country - for only a short period, perhaps a decade or less, (or perhaps only if they are and remain an LDC) . In this case, Medicaid is kind of a loan, not an insurance program, as it is subject to repayment, and only available to the destitute, and near destitute with assets that will only become available at their deaths, such as a home - after their other options have been used up. This "prevents healthcare prices from falling", and "preserves the profit in selling insurance", and "the value of the insurance companies investment". These are the most important things in a for-profit healthcare system. Especially as it becomes "The one bright spot in a dismal economy"

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

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

Studying the Supra-National in Education: GATS, education and teacher union policies

This article starts by putting the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) into a general context of privatisation. It is noted that the privatisation process is in many cases complex and not only about full-scale privatisation of schools. The growing trade in education must be seen in this context. GATS is not an agreement which deals with educational issues from a political or educational perspective, but from a commercial and trade perspective. The purpose of GATS is to liberalise trade in services, which also includes education. Commitments made in GATS negotiations are difficult to withdraw and the protection of commercial interests which GATS provides is stronger than the protection of human rights, in, for example, the Convention of the Right of the Child. The protection given in GATS to public services, including public education, is ambiguous at best and in many cases open to interpretation by Trade Dispute Panels. It can be assumed that such panels will deal with some educational matters in future. Another risk for the future is that governments will use GATS as an excuse for deregulation and privatisation within the education sector. There is also a risk that education will become part of a general negotiation game where governments may have to open up the education market in their own countries in order to get access to other markets and that education policies will increasingly be decided by trade ministers instead of education ministers.

GATS, Migration, and Labor Standards

(from the International Labor Organization - ILO ) Discussion about the hidden global push to use guest worker programs to impoverish the middle class and lift the wealthy in the poorest nations out of "poverty"

Regional Trade Agreements and Trade in Services

Ortino, Federico, Regional Trade Agreements and Trade in Services. in BILATERAL AND REGIONAL TRADE AGREEMENTS: COMMENTARY, ANALYSIS AND CASE STUDIES, Lester & Mercurio, eds, Cambridge University Press, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=995781 .... Quote: "‘measures by Members’ means measures taken by central, regional or local governments and authorities as well as non-governmental bodies in the exercise of powers delegated by central, regional or local governments or authorities. However, GATS only requires Members to take such reasonable measures as may be available to them to secure compliance with GATS rules by sub-central and non-governmental bodies (Article I.3(a)). ‘Measures by Members affecting trade in services’ include measures in respect of (i) the purchase, payment or use of a service; (ii) the access to and use of, in connection with the supply of a service, services which are required by those Members to be offered to the public generally; (iii) the presence, including commercial presence, of persons of a Member for the supply of a service in the territory of another Member (Article XXVIII(c)). This list being indicative, the inquiry centers around the term ‘affecting’. WTO jurisprudence has interpreted broadly the term ‘affecting’. A measure affects trade in service when the measure ‘modifies the conditions of competition in supply of a service.’ In other words, GATS disciplines apply, in principle, to any measure of a Member to the extent it affects the supply of a service, regardless of whether such measure directly governs the supply of a service, or whether it regulates other matters but nevertheless affects indirectly trade in services. Furthermore, in line with GATT/WTO jurisprudence, in order to determine whether a measure ‘affects’ trade in services, there is no need to determine actual effects, rather it is enough to demonstrate a potential effect on trade".

Jobs Abroad Support ‘Model’ State in India

By JASON DePARLE TRIVANDRUM, India — "This verdant swath of southern Indian coastline is a famously good place to be poor. People in the state of Kerala live nearly as long as Americans do, on a sliver of the income. They read at nearly the same rates. With leftist governments here in the state capital spending heavily on health and schools, a generation of scholars has celebrated the “Kerala model” as a humane alternative to market-driven development, a vision of social equality in an unequal capitalist world. .. the benevolent path to development, a retort to globalization — makes the travails of its 1.8 million globalizing migrants especially resonant. The debate about Kerala is a debate about future strategies across the impoverished world".

Reckless Abandon Canada, the GATS and the Future of Health Care

This study shows that, contrary to repeated assurances from federal government officials, the government has, in fact, recklessly exposed health care to the GATS commercial rules. Matthew Sanger made the discovery that health insurance has already been included in the list of Canadian services which are subjected to the full force of the GATS rules.

When Worlds Collide: Implications of International Trade and Investment Agreements for Non-Profit Social Services

Although Canada has vowed that its domestic social policies will not be compromised by its international trade obligations, it has also been a leading exponent of increasing trade liberalization in the services sector. Unless great caution is taken in the current WTO and FTAA negotiations, this ambivalence could expose many of our social programs to trade-driven privatization and commercialization. Authors Andrew Jackson and Matt Sanger describe in detail the policy implications of these trade treaty talks. They demonstrate the need to strengthen and improve the protections now afforded our social services, many of which--from child care to elder care--are delivered by not-for-profit social service agencies funded by governments, rather than directly by governments. When these services are exposed to trade and investment treaties, the few limited protections provided to direct public sector programs may not apply. Only clear and forceful treaty terms can minimize the risk of trade challenges that could disrupt and undermine these important services The worlds of trade policy and social policy are very different. When they collide, as they inevitably will in the negotiations to expand the WTO’s General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS), it will take great diligence on the part of Canada’s negotiators to ensure that our not-for-profit social programs and services survive the collision.

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

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

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

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

The GATS and Canadian Postal Services

The 60-page study, " The GATS and Canadian Postal Services," examines the implications of the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) and the current negotiations to expand it for Canada Post and Canadian postal services. US-based multinational courier companies are using the GATS negotiations to try to force Canada Post out of parcel delivery and other competitive services. "Restricting Canada Post to core letter-mail services would doom the Canadian public postal system to gradual erosion and decline," said Sinclair Foreign multinationals are seeking GATS-enforceable rights to Canada Post's advantages without being encumbered by its public service obligations, according to the study. The report's key findings include: The GATS conflicts with existing multilateral rules that ensure the delivery of international mail--the Universal Postal Union rules. The GATS prohibits minimum service requirements in Canada's rural areas and the north. By covering courier services under the GATS, negotiators have exposed Canada Post to challenges under the GATS anti-monopoly rules. A quirk of the United Nations system for classifying services may be all that protects Canada from an even more devastating national treatment challenge. This vital protection however, is at risk in ongoing discussions in Geneva to reclassify postal and courier services. The study urges that Canada's trade policy objectives and negotiating strategy be brought into line with the clear Parliamentary mandate given to Canada Post. The report suggests immediate steps that Canada should take to protect public postal services under the GATS. "But the many threats posed by the GATS to the Canadian public postal system demonstrate that it is a deeply flawed agreement hostile to public services and to regulation in the public interest," Sinclair concludes.

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

(There are many sides to this story, here is another one of them! GATS set up what amounts to a competition between everybody in the world for a shrinking pool of jobs in order to lower wages and working conditions for everybody) 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."

The State of Play in GATS Negotiations: Are Developing Countries Benefiting?

I am including articles like this so that we out-of-the-loop Americans can see other points of view. I disagree with the premise that trade agreements trading away rapidly vanishing good jobs forever is somehow good. I don't think it helps the poor in any conceivable way. Highly skilled workers, as they are alleged to be - in order to get their nonimmigrant work visas, should be paid a decent wage, not be working almost for free just for a reference, while body shop firms pocket most of their earnings, paying them in many cases less than US minimum wage (when you divide the number of hours they actually work by their wages). But thats what GATS Mode Four attempts to do, and make it irreversible. The job losses to the indigenous workers are called "efficiency gains". These programs will heavily impact the core middle class professions, turning them into precarious labor. It will be quite literally NAFTA for the rest of the jobs. That's been GATS' goal from the beginning.

The Limited Case for Permitting SME Procurement Preferences in the WTO Agreement on Government Procurement

"Any agreement to liberalize procurement markets should deal with the reality that some states have longstanding policies supporting firms owned and controlled by historically disadvantaged individuals, rooted in the constitutional orders of those states. Substantial noneconomic rationales, grounded in notions of social justice and human rights, support these programmes, but the domain of these rationales as they are currently understood is limited to domestic societies. This limitation affects all negotiations to liberalize trade across national borders, in that states (or their leaders) do not hold the view that they have obligations to support the programmes of other states in the area of social justice. I argue that all WTO members should have an equal opportunity to implement noneconomic policies having to do with promoting justice within their borders for their citizens. "

WTO/GATS and the Global Politics of Higher Education

By Antoni Verger - This is one of the best full sized books I have read on the GATS and its implications for education. If you are an educator or are concerned about the global push for privatization of education under the GATS and the various debates informing it, this book is really quite informative.. See also https://www.google.com/search?hl=en&as_q=&as_epq=WTO%2FGATS+and+the+Global+Politics+of+Higher+Education

Book: Blame It On the WTO: A Human Rights Critique

by Sarah Joseph 365 pages Oxford University Press, Oxford When the World Trade Organisation (WTO) was established in 1995, few human rights lawyers at the time realized the significance of this event for their discipline. In part, this may have been because the creation of the WTO followed more than a decade of neoliberal policies characterized by deregulation and the removal of barriers to trade and investment in many regions. Although it strengthened the system originally established under the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade in 1947, the WTO was not seen to represent a seismic shift: it was the final stage of a gradual evolution, rather than the beginning of something radically new... The relative indifference of human rights lawyers also stemmed from a lack of understanding of the consequences of this ambitious overhaul of the global trade system. The WTO was deliberately placed outside the remit of the United Nations. With its establishment, the international trade system included for the first time a dispute settlement mechanism of a quasi-judicial nature, binding upon the WTO Members, and which could allow economic sanctions to be imposed on States that failed to comply with the disciplines imposed on them. Indeed, in retrospect, it is this aspect of the WTO Agreement that appears both the most novel and that has the most far-reaching consequences. Most notably, it created an imbalance between the commitments of States under the WTO framework and their other international obligations, including those under human rights treaties: should conflicts emerge between the two sets of obligations, States may be tempted systematically to prioritize their duties under the WTO, because of the sanctions attached to non-compliance, leaving aside the comparatively ‘softer’ commitments made under human rights treaties. As this important book by Sarah Joseph shows, things are now changing. The problems arising from the fragmentation of international law are increasingly being acknowledged, and solutions are being explored to overcome them. Due to the ‘special nature’ of human rights treaties, which are irreducible to exchanges of undertakings between States, merely to state that these treaties are paramount, will not suffice. We need to work towards practical ways of avoiding conflicts whenever possible, and of solving conflicts when they emerge, in ways that do not lead to the sacrifice of human rights on the altar of increased trade, even for the sake of economic growth.

“That’s All They’ve Got?” (PCGTW 2010) "What Latest WTO Secretariat Paper on Financial Crisis Does and Does Not Say About GATS Disciplines on Financial Regulation"

March 15, 2010 by Todd Tucker and Public Citizen Global Trade Watch: "On February 3, the WTO issued a document that many in Geneva call the “non-response” to over a year of growing questions from WTO member countries and others about the connection between the rules of the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) on financial services and the global economic crisis. 1 Indeed, this was the Secretariat’s first major study 2 in nearly 12 years about the WTO’s financial service rules. 3 The new paper is a disappointment to anyone hoping for a convincing rebuttal to charges that the WTO’s General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) promotes financial services deregulation...

Migration, Precarization and the Democratic Deficit in Global Governance

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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".

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!

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."

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.

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.

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)