Recently Added

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Americans should be aware of a very important difference between the US Presidential candidates

Trade agreements (treaties) allege to block a great deal of what many candidates are promising, and have since the mid 1990s, and the body of changes they have made make it highly unlikely most of them could happen without an potentially costly international fight. We should prepare for that and understand, we're being fed a bill of goods by virtually all of them. The only one who seems a cut above the rest is still leaving this super important fact out. As his platform's proposals basically violate so many restrictive treaty rules, it seems highly unlikely his party would nominate him because that would result in exposure of this huge body of really shameless lying. So he will have to win by a really huge margin in a way that cannot be hidden by cheating. Which is inevitable-Both parties are clearly cooperating to hide their decades long deception. (Its important to them for this theft of democracy to remain hidden because its something the entire country would agree is totally evil. Also, a great many poor Americans have died unnecessarily of treatable diseases in the more than 25 years our healthcare system has been rigged in a way that is impossible to fix without this knowledge they have all been hiding from us, that's murder.)

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

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

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

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

Remdesivir and chloroquine effectively inhibit the recently emerged novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) in vitro

This letter discusses the Wuhan Institute of Virology's evaluation of ribavirin, penciclovir, nitazoxanide, nafamostat, chloroquine and two well-known broad-spectrum antiviral drugs remdesivir (GS-5734) and favipiravir (T-705) against a clinical isolate of 2019-nCoV in vitro. Notably, remdesivir and chloroquine (an 80-year-old malaria drug) potently blocked virus infection at low-micromolar concentration.

WTO GATS Glossary

This Public Citizen PDF includes a great deal of useful information on GATS, for example, how schedules are written.

'Thou shalt not be indifferent': from Auschwitz's gate of hell, a last, desperate warning

This article is about a commemoration of the liberation of Auschwitz. Survivors are worried about a growing hostility to both Jews and refugees (and the poor and disposessed, who are increasinly the losers of globalization also) Homelessness is rising at an ever increasing rate. We all have good reason to be fearful that governments are scapegoating marginalized groups to cover up actions taken largely because of greed. I really worry quite a bit that GATS with its hidden ratchets and standstills, is making dishonesty in governments the norm. It and other FTAs - because they use trade as a pretext to end compassion just as it is most needed (as jobs go away) are gradually setting up a global genocide of the poor. A world government that secretly rules human society for the rich, that forbids governments - in a noose-like way (the ratchet in FTAS) from helping the poor is more than close to it, it's doing it.

Trade Liberalization and Universal Access to Education Services

"The exclusion therefore does not appear to apply to education services in cases where such services are provided on a non-commercial basis but which are supplied in competition with another service provider. Similarly, the exclusion would not appear to apply to education services that are supplied on a commercial basis even where these services are supplied in the absence of competition with any other service supplier. The exclusion would seem to apply only in those cases where education services are provided by completely non-commercial, absolute monopolies. In most countries, however, education services are normally supplied through a mixture of public and private suppliers, or frequently include certain commercial aspects. A strict reading of Article 1:3 would indicate that such services fall outside the exclusion. In any case, wherever uncertainties about the scope of the exclusion arise, the language will almost certainly be interpreted narrowly. The WTO Council for Trade in Services, for instance, has supported the view that even in the context of sensitive public service sectors such as health and social services, the exclusion “needed to be interpreted narrowly”. "Despite the significance of GATS coverage for education services, there are indications that some member governments may not fully appreciate the limited scope of the “governmental authority” exclusion. Many governments may not recognize that certain aspects of education services and their regulation are likely already subject to those GATS obligations that apply horizontally, including most-favoured-nation treatment and transparency."

Democratization or repression?

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

What is 'genelining'?

Genelining is the practice of using genetic information in health insurance underwriting, in other words, deciding who to offer health insurance, and for what price based on the results or genetic screening tests or family history. Other means of assessing risk may be geographically based, information thats getting very easy to access due to the widespread practice of including GPS chips in cell phones. .

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

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

On sweatshop jobs and decent work

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

Britons and (we) Americans need to know something. We have frustrated "expectancies" but increasingly, thanks to GATS, the proposed UK-US FTA, TISA and others, not any kind of real property interest in our nation's futures.

These agreements push our rights out of our future. They attempt to irreversibly gut public services like the UK's NHS and will most certainly totally block the proposed "Medicare For All" as well as procurement proposals that employ our nations workers if international temping firms bid on those jobs and win. So they will outsource millions of now stable jobs, turning them into entitlements of foreign firms to do, if they are cheaper. They replace legal immigration with temporary subcontracting and its likely that because our countries will be overwhelmed by corporate temporary migration, (GATS Mode 4) developed nations may turn against the one part of it we can control, permanent migration. So this corporate capture of migration will push out refugees and likely also temp workers possibility of permanent migration. It will also displace millions of workers in dozens of high skill service sectors, starting with professionals and fields like IT, nursing, teaching, engineering, etc, and then working its way downward, and undercut the wages of the remaining workers across the board.

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.

Neither Americans nor Britons seem to be able to admit that both our governments are lying to us across a broad spectrum to hide GATS.

Neither country seems willing to put two and two together, for example, about the healthcare held hostage, and obligations on procurement, (and potential large scale job outsourcing) due to committments in GPA/GATS (This also applies to Brexit's potential monetization of the NHS and likely giveaways of vanishing jobs in the UK). Why? Ask the dishonest insiders who promote these deals! You'll get an earful. They have dozens of sketchy, often conflicting reasons. But those reasons are based on junk trickle-down economics and don't add up. They don't stand up to scrutiny. And they know it. A growing number of economists have pointed out that the assumptions they make (such as assuming that workers displaced by large scale services liberalization would or could change fields and find new jobs) don't add up. For decades smart economists have been saying this.

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.

What is "Services Liberalization", and what does it mean for our way of life?

Bluntly, as they describe it, the high cost of labor in the developed countries is acting like a huge weight around corporations necks, forcing capital to invest in developing countries, not in us. What is really happening is the system has become less and less dependent on any one workforce. Increased profits are motivated by both greed and increased competition for jobs.

What is this site about?

This site is about a theft of our entire planet and future, by means of fraudulent "transactions" that try to trade away what cannot be traded away, in order to make all the policies that people would need to have changed in order to adapt to the changes in the world, in other words, the core function of democracy, impossible forever. Using "trade" as a pretext, what amounts to sham contracts between different groups of oligarchs.

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.)

Who traded who what in the GATS?

Its clear to me that neither Americans nor Britons have even the foggiest idea of what the GATS is or even that it exists. But it does and its one of the main reasons why everything is so broken.

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.”

Large scale privatizations of once-public (services) are the first steps in a global scheme to outsource and/or offshore them internationally at low wages.

turning many professions into precarious low paid labor- The inclusion in the WTO of billions of jobs in the category of potentially "tradable" services, is turning them into bargaining chips in a vast international trade - while lowering quality and professionalism to least common denominator levels. Turning people and their lives, hopes and dreams, into "inputs" - and "markets" basically commodities.

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.)

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!"