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Four modes of WTO

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

The Official Propaganda in the DPRK: Ideas and Methods

by Andrei Lankov - These two articles are still among the best short explanations of how the Kim family maintains their iron grip on North Korea. The companion to this one is The Repressive System and the Political Control in North Korea

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

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

Domestic Regulation in Services: Members Weigh Options for Levelling Playing Field

Pesky countries are still setting their own policies which often have the effect, intentionally or not, of discriminating against foreign corporations (who are allowed it seems to discriminate against the local country's workers for any reason they want.) When countries try to set up programs like those during the New Deal that channel jobs to the unemployed, they are likely to run into WTO "deregulations".

Plan B: Declaration For a Democratic Rebellion in Europe

Democratic Europeans are fighting back against state capture: "A movement to place human rights, civil, political, social, economic, cultural and democratic rights, at the heart of the european project, as an intrinsic part of democracy."

The Value For Money Debt audit: An alternative weapon against state capture

by Mary Serumaga on the anti-debt web site "Many African nations are mired in huge debts arising from foreign loans that have hardly benefitted the people. The citizens need to audit these debts. Odious debts should be repudiated, damn the consequences. Moreover, as Thomas Sankara demonstrated in the four years he was president of Burkina Faso, African nations do not need foreign loans to meet the needs of their people. In the 1990s, post-war Uganda was restructuring the civil service. The country was awash with World Bank funds and donor grants for ‘re-tooling’ public offices, capacity building and rehabilitating infrastructure. At the time, short landings were the order of the day. It is a universal fraudulent practice involving a supplier of goods delivering less than the goods paid for or nothing at all, and then being issued a goods received note by a colluding administrator. The supplier is then paid against the Note. Locally it was called ‘air supply.’"

Municipalities and citizens movement defeat anti-democratic EU directive

"Trade unions and other social movements, city councilors, municipalities, regional councils and even some governments can now claim victory over a proposal tabled by the European Commission in January 2017. - The proposed Notification Procedure directive would have given the Commission veto powers over rules and regulations tabled in the area of services, and it has been clear from the beginning, that it would affect areas such as child care, public services, city planning and labour rights at all levels of government – from the very local to the national level. In a vast and sensitive area of the economy, the Commission claimed the right to scrutinize draft laws well before they were adopted, to change them and to have them repealed should they be adopted in a form not in sync with strict market disciplines."

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

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

Causes of the Debt Crisis - Global Issues

"Third world debt has long been recognized as a major obstacle to human development. Many other problems have arisen because of the enormous debt that third world countries owe to rich countries. Debt has impeded sustainable human development, security and political or economic stability. How has this happened?" (Note: it seems this odious and illegitimate "Third World Debt" is cited as one of the reasons for the GATS (???) by the UN in document A/RES/44/232 )

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

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

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

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

Facing Facts

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

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

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


“Governments are free in principle to pursue any national policy objectives provided the relevant measures are compatible with the GATS.” –WTO, Oct. 1999

GATS Annex on Financial Services

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

The drug pricing policy web site of pricing expert Donald W. Light.

Opposition in International Law – Alternativity and Revisibility as Elements of a Legitimacy Concept for Public International Law - by ISABELLE LEY

As international law is widening in regulatory scope and intensity, it arguably suffers from a legitimacy deficit. This article conceives of this deficit as a deficit in possibilities to politicize, criticize, and contest international law-making proposals in the way a loyal opposition does in a domestic constitutional context: through the representation of relevant societal interests, the voicing of critique, and the safeguarding of alternative proposals for the future. The author of this article tries to bring together the current debate in political theory on the value of legitimate disagreement and dissent in political institutions and the ongoing discussion on the legitimacy of international law. Therefore, a concept of an institutionalized opposition for international law-making processes is developed, referencing authors such as Hannah Arendt and Claude Lefort. Next, the author analyses whether one can already find instances of an institutionalized opposition in international law – in parliamentary assemblies and in international agreements which are designed to present a legal–political counterweight to specific legal concepts and institutions.


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

USCIS Appeals Panel Rules on L-1B Employment

Story about "Matter of I- Corp., Adopted Decision 2017-02 (AAO Apr. 12, 2017)" a USCIS adjudicative decision where a company's decision to pay a Malaysian engineer less than US minimum wage resulted in a rejection of the non-immigrant work visa they were applying for. It was determined that companies applying for non-immigrant work visas, must plan to pay _at least a 'legal' US wage, ideally a wage that reflected the special skills posessed by the proposed visa recipient. This is a reasonable requirement so that engineers working for minimum wage don't depress the job prospects of engineers generally.

Multinational Corporations and Health Care in the United States and Latin America: Strategies, Actions, and Effects

"In this article we analyze the corporate dominance of health care in the United States and the dynamics that have motivated the international expansion of multinational health care corporations, especially to Latin America. We identify the strategies, actions, and effects of multinational corporations in health care delivery and public health policies. Our methods have included systematic bibliographical research and in-depth interviews in the United States, Mexico, and Brazil. Influenced by public policy makers in the United States, such organizations as the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, and World Trade Organization have advocated policies that encourage reduction and privatization of health care and public health services previously provided in the public sector."

What is FastTrack

by Maine Fair Trade Campaign - What Fast Track is is DANGER, because IMHO these deals are a scam, that no legislator or member of the electorate in their right mind would ever vote for.

GATS and Congress

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

"Achmea: The Beginning of the End for ISDS in and with Europe?"

"The Achmea case essentially concerned a preliminary reference by the German Federal Court of Justice over whether EU law precluded the application of an arbitration clause in an IIA between EU member states. Slovakia had challenged before German courts the jurisdiction of an investment tribunal constituted under the Dutch–Slovak bilateral investment treaty (BIT). A Dutch investor (Achmea) had seized that investment tribunal over a partial reversal of the Slovak government’s decision in 2004 to privatize the health insurance market. In 2007 Slovakia had prohibited the distribution of profits generated by private health insurance activities. The investment tribunal considered this a breach of the BIT and awarded Achmea damages of EUR 22.1 million."

Never ending scandals, drama, histrionics, as a deliberate scheme to cover-up the depriving of the nation and planet of functional democratic governance.

This site is about a global scheme to cheat the planet out of its rights, such as the right to vote for policy changes and actually have them implemented. Nowhere is this scheme more in evidence than in the US today. Frankly, the Trump Administration is trying to prevent any kind of rational two party democracy. This is a planned strategy of voter disenfranchisement, depriving the country of government for another four years.

Video: GATS- What is it?

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

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

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

What is "progressive liberalization" ?

For public services, its a lot like progressive strangulation. Part IV (4) of the GATS "Progressive Liberalization" is composed of three Articles - XIX (negotiation of specific commitments), XX (scheduling of commitments), and XXI (modification of schedules). Its goal is represented to be “promoting the economic growth of all trading partners and the development of developing countries".

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

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

Topic- Carve-outs

This category broadly defines alterations to trade agreements to modify their terms, so that countries can gain needed policy space back from trade agreements that attempt to hijack it forever.

Why mixed healthcare systems are failing in trying to deliver subsidized healthcare

New Australian Healthcare Tiers - are a good example of the impact of WTO law requirement to be 'least trade restrictive' on all mixed private systems (also public subsidies must be temporary and countries must incorporate measures to phase them out and transition to purely market based solutions into their domestic regulation)

The politics of the private finance initiative and the new NHS

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

Global Trade and Public Health

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

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

"The previous round of WTO ministerial talks (the Uruguayan round) allowed governments to protect health and social services from GATS treatment by defining them as government services. According to GATS Article 1.3, a government service is one “which is supplied neither on a commercial basis, nor in competition with one or more service suppliers”. Article 19 of GATS is, however, intended to end this protection. “Members shall enter into successive rounds of negotiations . . . with a view to achieving a progressively higher level of liberalisation.” The WTO secretariat has argued that for services to be classified under Article 1.3 they should be provided free. Many governments initially protected health services from GATS treatment by defining them in this way. But the WTO has highlighted the inconsistencies in this approach. 12 “The hospital sector in many counties . . . is made up of government-owned and privately-owned entities which both operate on a commercial basis, charging the patient or his insurance for the treatment provided. Supplementary subsidies may be granted for social, regional, and similar policy purposes. It seems unrealistic in such cases to argue for continued application of Article I:3, and/or maintain that no competitive relationship exists between the two groups of suppliers of services.” In addition, Article 13 of GATS calls for the end of subsidies that distort trade and requires members to negotiate procedures to combat them. Therefore, according to the WTO, wherever there is a mixture of public and private funding, such as user charge or private insurance, or there are subsidies for non-public infrastructure, such as public-private partnerships or competitive contracting for services, the service sector should be open to foreign corporations. Health-care systems across Europe are vulnerable on all these counts."

State Capture

The classical definition of state capture refers to the way formal procedures (such as laws and social norms) and government bureaucracy are manipulated by private individuals and firms so as to influence state policies and laws in their favour. State capture seeks to influence the formation of laws to protect and promote influential private interests. In this way it differs from most other forms of corruption which instead seek selective enforcement of already existing laws.[3] State capture may not be illegal, depending on determination by the captured state itself,[4] and might be attempted through private lobbying and influence. The influence may be through a range of state institutions, including the legislature, executive, ministries and the judiciary, or through a corrupt electoral process. It is similar to regulatory capture but differs in the scale and variety of influenced areas and, unlike regulatory capture, the private influence is never overt. The private influences cannot be discovered by lawful processes, since the legislative process, judiciary, electoral process, and/or executive powers have been subverted.

OECD Services Trade Restrictiveness Index - Regulatory database

This is the index hosted by the OECD (one of several indices of trade restrictiveness) that countries can use to consult if their services regulations comply with "Minimal Trade Restrictiveness" rules that limit what a country can regulate. For example, WTO rules require that measures (basically all national laws, regulations or policies, at the federal, state or local level ) be 'not more burdensome (on corporations) than necessary to ensure the quality of the service'.

Good cop/bad cop

"Good cop/bad cop" routine, also called joint questioning or friend and foe, is a psychological tactic used in negotiation and interrogation. "Good cop/bad cop" tactics involve a team of two interrogators who take apparently opposing approaches to the subject. The interrogators may interview the subject alternately or may confront the subject at the same time.

The Good Cop, Bad Cop Negotiation Strategy

The good cop, bad cop negotiation strategy is common in sales negotiations and other competitive contexts. Learn to identify and defuse this persuasion ploy when it’s tried on you.