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by Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
Saturday, Jun. 06, 2015 at 3:35 PM
The TISA is among the alarming new wave of trade and investment agreements founded on legally binding powers that institutionalize the rights of investors and prohibit government actions in a wide range of areas only incidentally related to trade.
to read the booklet from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, click on
Treating public services as commodities for trade creates a fundamental misconception of public services. The Trade in Services Agreement (TISA), currently being negotiated in secret and outside of World Trade Organization rules, is a deliberate attempt to privilege the profits of the richest corporations and countries in the world over those who have the greatest needs.
Public services are designed to provide vital social and economic necessities – such as health care and education – affordably, universally and on the basis of need. Public services exist because markets will not produce these outcomes. Further, public services are fundamental to ensure fair competition for business, and effective regulation to avoid environmental, social and economic disasters – such as the global financial crisis and global warming. Trade agreements consciously promote commercialisation and define goods and services in terms of their ability to be exploited for profit by global corporations.
Even the most ardent supporters of trade agreements admit that there are winners and losers in this rigged game. The winners are usually powerful countries who are able to assert their power, multinational corporations who are best placed to exploit new access to markets, and wealthy consumers who can afford expensive foreign imports. The losers tend to be workers who face job losses and downward pressure on wages, users of public services and local small businesses which cannot compete with multinational corporations.
The TISA is among the alarming new wave of trade and investment agreements founded on legally binding powers that institutionalise the rights of investors and prohibit government actions in a wide range of areas only incidentally related to trade.
The TISA will prevent governments from returning public services to public hands when privatisations fail, restrict domestic regulations on worker safety, limit environmental regulations and consumer protections and regulatory authority in areas such as licensing of health care facilities, power plants, waste disposal and university and school accreditation.
This agreement will treat migrant workers as commodities and limit the ability of governments to ensure their rights. Labour standards should be set by the tripartite International Labour Organization (ILO) and not be covered by trade agreements.
Incredibly, in the aftermath of the global financial crisis, the TISA also seeks to further deregulate financial markets. We know that large corporate interests are heavily involved in the TISA negotiations
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