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

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

Towards Developing Subsidy Disciplines Under the GATS

Entities like the European Community are being criticised by developing countries (and have been by the US for a long time) for subsidizing essential services like higher education and healthcare which cost dearly in the fast growing Asian countries, which hold most of the world's population. For example "In addition, other form of subsidy that can distort trade both within and outside domestic territory is subsidy given to residents for acquiring specialised skills. When the residents, armed with specialized skills that are subsidized by government, temporarily move abroad the subsidy causes distortion. At present this distortion is limited, if at all, since the members countries usually have strict immigration/visa regulations. But even when there is no temporary movement of natural persons, subsidized specialized skills may distort trade when, for example, outsourcing of services to the subsidizing member takes place via mode 1." (page 14) "Even if the above channels through which trade distortion takes place are addressed, trade distortion may still occur if one of the sub-sectors is subsidized or when any particular mode is subsidized. So a full blown subsidy disciplines should check against cross-(sub) sectoral and cross modal trade distortion, even when such subsidies in a specific mode or specific sub-sector are available to both domestic and foreign service suppliers. Subsidy disciplines ought to address these channels of subsidy-induced trade distortions". (page 15) "Trade Distortion" is when the normal hierarchies of quality/value/cost are disrupted by government intervention or lack of intervention or any other "measure", "devaluing" a service. See also the rlated principles of minimal derogation, (minimal trade restrictiveness" and proportionality.

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

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

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

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

The neoliberal (counter-) revolution

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

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

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

European University Association Statement on TTIP and TISA

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

The Brave New (and Smaller) World of Higher Education

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

(India's) Cashless economy brought about by demonetisation hurt the poor and the economy

India's project to use biometrics to set up a cashless economy that was friendly to illiterate people is particularly scary to me. Am I imagining this, or does that seem to you as if it portends a sort of giving up on education of the poor, because using biometrics, they can identify them for administrative purposes (the system uses retinal scanning) without the poor even needing to know how to read or write their own name.

Trade Liberalization & Women’s Reproductive Health

Women often are charged with the responsibility of caring for their families’ health, education and nutrition, and they often supplement, or earn the entirety of, the family’s income, and provide household labor to maintain upkeep of their homes. The liberalization of international trade increasingly affects women’s health by creating new opportunities to improve reproductive health as well as new obstacles to advance reproductive/sexual health and rights objectives in policies, programs and services. New employment opportunities may open up for women, for example, which may enable them to achieve higher income levels and greater access to health services and technology. However, trade liberalization also may lead to higher costs of health services and supplies, lower quality of services, shortages of critical medical personnel because of increased migration or a concentration of health services that may restrict access for lower-income or remote populations

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

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."

The Politics, Power, and Pathologies of International Organizations

Do international organizations really do what their creators intend them to do? In the past century the number of international organizations (1Os) has increased exponen- tially, and we have a variety of vigorous theories to explain why they have been created. . Most of these theories explain IO creation as a response to problems of transaction costs, incomplete information, and other barriers to Pareto efficiency and welfare improvement for their members.

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]).

“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...

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.

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

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. "

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.

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 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.

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

We Own It: UK

"Privatisation has failed - it’s a fringe, extreme ideology. A majority of us believe public services should work for people not profit."

High prices, poor access: What is Big Pharma fighting for in Brussels?

Big Pharma's lobby machine ground into top gear to defend its privileges, doing its best to remove or weaken regulatory measures. A close relationship with the Commission –which fails to take undue industry influence seriously– has played a key role, as has the lobbying firepower of Big Pharma. The top ten biggest spending companies, for example, have increased their lobby budget by €2 million since 2015, and Big Pharma's main lobby group EFPIA (European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations) sits on eight of the Commission’s advisory groups. Big Pharma has also rolled out a PR offensive harnessing the powerful emotions around illness, designed to deflect criticism and narrow the scope for debate. Thanks to this lobbying arsenal, the industry has succeeded in influencing the review into pharma incentives and rewards (such as intellectual property rules), as well as a change to a type of patent extension called an SPC (supplementary protection certificate) which allows companies to extend the period of monopoly pricing. It has also affected a proposal for EU collaboration to assess how effective new medicines and health technologies are relative to existing ones, something which helps member states negotiate prices. Drug companies promote the use of ‘new’ drugs because they still have patent protection, and are therefore more expensive, over old ones that don't, even if the new product is not an improvement in medical terms.

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.

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.

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.

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".

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".

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"

Insurance developments that could lead us into COSTLY FTA-lock-in

Which would block any further changes in health insurance, because we have accepted the faulty premise that foreign corporations deserve more than the American people who have been dying at the rate of 50-150 people a day because of their GATS scam. Work in progress

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.

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".

Squaring the Circle? Reconciling Sovereignty and Global Governance Through Global Government Networks (Review of Anne-Marie Slaughter, a New World Order)

Anderson, Kenneth, Harvard Law Review, Vol. 118, pp. 1255-1312, January 2005. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=669842 "Anne-Marie Slaughter's widely noticed book, A New World Order (Princeton UP 2004), proposes that the emerging form of global governance is neither a world government nor global governance by partnerships of public international organizations and global civil society, yet neither is it the existing relationship of sovereign states. A form of global governance is emerging, she argues, which can resolve this dilemma in the form of global government networks - networks of national agencies (and courts) working with their counterparts and homologues worldwide to deal with a wide variety of global concerns. The review locates Slaughter's argument within the debate over international relations realism and idealism, and further locates it within a continuum of seven idealized positions in the debate between global governance and sovereignty, with pure sovereignty at one extreme and world government at the other, with the most relevant positions of democratic sovereignty and liberal internationalism located in the middle. The article concludes that Slaughter's vision of global governance through global government networks, ingenious as it is, does not finally avoid spitting us on at least one horn of the global governance dilemma, because ultimately it privileges global networks over democratic sovereignty".

A Just World Under Law: A View From the South by BS Chimni

This is an important work - very much worth reading. Here are two quotes from it.: "Transnational capital sees a borderless world economy as its field of operation leading to the globalization of national production and financial systems. Its third world component plays the role of a junior partner with the crucial task of legitimizing the vision of global capital in its own world. There is also support for this vision in a growing global middle class that hopes to benefit from the ongoing globalization process." ... then he goes on to discuss a number of core concepts which need discussion - "The unified global economic space is being established through a range of international law instruments that include international trade law as embodied in World Trade Organization ("WTO") texts and international monetary law as prescribed by international financial institutions. The key development here is the prescription of minimum uniform global standards. That is to say, irrespective of the sovereign territory on which transnational capital operates it is increasingly governed by the same set of norms or norms that possess family resemblance. For example, every WTO member state has to abide by the norms governing intellectual property rights as embodied in the WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights ("TRIPS"). Some states merely get a longer transition period in which to implement them. The examples can easily be multiplied. The emergence of a unified global economic space may also be conceptualized in terms of the growing internationalization of property rights through the medium of international law. Indeed, the phenomenon of internationalization of property rights is crucial to the creation of a unified global economic space. "

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)

Federal Legislation Seeks to Stop States from Denying or Revoking Licenses Due to Unpaid Student Debt

Student loan debt is a reality for Americans of all ages. The total student loan debt in America is about $1.3 trillion, a figure that has doubled in the last decade. Student loan debt is the second-highest category of debt in America, second only to mortgage-related debt.[1] At the same time, student loan default rates have steadily increased over the last several decades, and “nearly 40 percent of borrowers are expected to default on their student loans by 2023.”[2] Projections like these have driven state and federal governments to be more focused than ever on collecting outstanding student loan debt. Following the lead of the federal Department of Education, some state governments have turned to solutions that exacerbate the problem. Currently, 20 states have laws on the books that allow states to deny applications for or revoke professional and occupational licensure from those who are in default on their student loan debt.[3] The policy of licensure action on those individuals in default on their student loans traces back to a 1990 document from the federal Department of Education titled “Reducing Student Loan Defaults: A Plan for Action.”[4] As the number of student loan defaults steadily increased, the Department of Education recommended (among other solutions) that states “enact legislation to deny professional licenses and state jobs to defaulters until they make adequate repayment arrangements.” Revoking or denying licenses as an incentive to pay back student loans can be self-defeating. It is much more daunting to pay back a loan if one is barred by the state from gainful employment in their field. Without a driver’s license, potential workers, college graduate or not (two-thirds of borrowers who default on student loans did not finish their degree[5]), are often lack reliable transportation to and from work, especially in areas with little to no public transit. And with little support from the state or federal governments until the loans are in repayment, these policies can force people into an unwinnable situation.

Odious Debt (IMF)

"Similarly, Anastasio Somoza was reported to have looted $100-500 million from Nicaragua by the time he was overthrown in 1979. Sandinista leader Daniel Ortega told the United Nations General Assembly that his government would repudiate Somoza's debt, but reconsidered when his country's allies in Cuba advised him that doing so would unwisely alienate Nicaragua from Western capitalist countries. Some countries have attempted to confiscate and restitute funds that an ex-ruler salted away abroad, but with mixed results. For example, Nigeria recently recouped money from Sani Abacha's family, but the Philippines has little to show for its protracted campaign to repatriate Ferdinand Marcos's fortune. Moreover, any money that has been squandered is gone forever."

Can’t Pay Back, Won’t Pay Back: Iceland’s Loud No

Silla Sigurgeirsdóttir and Robert H Wade – Le Monde Diplomatique The people of Iceland have now twice voted not to repay international debts incurred by banks, and bankers, for which the whole island is being held responsible. With the present turmoil in European capitals, could this be the way forward for other economies? The small island of Iceland has lessons for the world. It held a referendum in April to decide, more or less, whether ordinary people should pay for the folly of the bankers (and by extension, could governments control the corporate sector if they depended on it for finance). Sixty per cent of the population rejected an agreement negotiated between Iceland, the Netherlands and the UK to pay back the British and Dutch governments for the money they spent to recompense savers with the failed bank Icesave. That was less resistance than the first referendum last spring, when 93% voted no.

TISA - backdoor services liberalisation on a global level!

The Trade in Services Agreement (TISA) currently under negotiation on the side-line of the World Trade Organization (WTO) poses significant deregulatory threats for the majority of services sectors. International trade in services is dealt with by the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) and its annexes. Each WTO country so far autonomously decides which sectors are to be opened up to cross-border competition. Services sectors liberalisation is carried out once governments gave their explicit agreement to do so (positive lists). TISA intends to reverse this logic and implement a negative listing of liberalisation commitments. Only explicitly targeted sectors in the agreement would not be subject to further liberalisation. This poses significant risks of liberalising all services sectors of the economy unless explicitly exempted from the agreement. TISA would contain “Standstill” and “Ratchet” clauses. Standstill clauses effectively freeze the degrees of regulation in particular sectors and countries are no longer free to implement more strident regulatory provisions. A recently leaked text showed that the financial services industry, through TISA, intends to freeze international financial regulatory efforts by setting a minimum regulatory floor which could not be subsequently superseded by any government wishing so. Ratchet clauses effectively impede government to reverse achieved liberalisation floors. Once a sector is liberalised, there cannot be a turning back. These clauses mean that governments will no longer be able to challenge decisions and choices made by previous governments. The combination of the ratchet and standstill clauses renders the reversal of liberalisation levels impossible. Additionally, TISA could prescribe necessity tests for regulatory measures. Governments would have to prove the necessity of a regulatory instrument before implementing it. For example, in a discussion of universal coverage, a Government would have to prove the necessity of re-regulating already privatised services such as postal services.

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"

The real cause of Bernie Sanders' problems with the DNC (and America's healthcare mess!)

Basically, 2/3 of Bernie's much-needed platform, as well as the self-stated agendas of (all?) other politicians, to a large extent are potentially blocked by trade agreements that (the leaderships of both) US parties have been cooperating in hiding! They represent a huge betrayal of the American people by both parties. And the reasons for this are complicated and urgently need the nation's attention, or else the policy trap could become so costly to reverse it could become permanent, at a cost of as much as 41% or more of the nations jobs according to a Harvard study. (the agreements also potentially trade away service jobs, basically the 80% of the economy that isn't manufacturing.)