Wikileaks Exposes Super Secret, Regulation-Gutting Financial Services Pact

Wikileaks published an April draft of a critical section of pending “trade” deal called the Trade in Services Agreement, which is being negotiated among 50 countries, including the US, the member nations of the EU, Australia, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Hong Kong, Iceland, Israel, Japan, Liechtenstein, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Panama, Peru, South Korea, and Switzerland. TISA would liberalize, as in reduce the ability of nations to regulate, a large range of services.

The document that Wikileaks exposed on Thursday is a portion of the financial services section. It is clearly designed to serve the pet interests of big international players. This agreement is designed to institutionalize the current level of deregulation as a baseline and facilitate the introduction of new products, further ease the movement of funds, data, and key personnel, and facilitate cross-border acquisitions and other forms of market entry.

It is distressing to see how the media is pointedly ignoring this damning Wikileaks revelation. As of this hour, my Google News search does not show a single mainstream media outlet reporting on this story. The usual left-leaning stalwarts like Huffington Post, TruthOut, Firedoglake, and CommonDreams have articles up, along with Business Insider and RT. The only country where major news organizations have taken the story up are in Australia, and that appears to be due to the fact that approval of this deal would end Australia’s restrictions on foreign ownership of banks.

Our World is Not for Sale describes the scope:

In February of 2014, negotiations began on six priority topics: financial services, telecommunications and e-commerce, domestic regulation and transparency, professional services, maritime transport, and the so-called “Mode 4” of the GATS, which refers to natural movement of persons. In addition, participants had extensive discussions on road transport, delivery services and air transport. But there are many more sectors and proposals that have been submitted: is also known that the EU has submitted a proposal on Government Procurement in Services, and on Postal Services, just as examples.

The Wikileaks release today makes clear why interested parties are uncertain about these negotiations. They impose even greater secrecy requirements than the toxic trade deals know as the TransPacific Partnership and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. The TISA text is classified for five years after it becomes effective or negotiations are terminated, which exceeds the four-year blackout imposed by the TTP and the TTIP.

The financial services annex that Wikileaks published is only a portion of the entire deal, but even so, what we can discern is alarming. The agreement defines financial services as broadly as possible, and includes insurance, payments systems (as in credit and debit cards), asset management, brokerage, trustee and custodial services, and ancillary services, like brokerage, consultancy, and data services. It also allows executives and “specialists” to enter countries freely on a temporary basis.

As I read the text, it bars reregulation. From Article X.15 Non-discriminatory measures (emphasis ours):

2. With respect to the non-discriminatory measures referred to in [subparagraphs [x(a) and (b) (immediately above)]] a Party shall endeavor not to limit or restrict the present degree of market opportunities, nor the benefits already enjoyed by financial service suppliers of another Party as a class in the territory of the Party, provided that this commitment does not result in unfair discrimination against financial service suppliers of the Party applying such measures.

And this section (Article X.17: Prudential Measures) gives you a good idea of what the priorities are:

1. Notwithstanding any other provision of the Agreement, a Party shall not be prevented from [PA, EU: taking] [US: adopting or maintaining] measures for prudential reasons, including for:

(a) the protection of investors, depositors, [PA, US financial market users], policy-holders or persons to whom a fiduciary duty is owed by a financial service supplier; or
(b) to ensure the integrity and stability of a Party’s financial system.

2. Where such measures do not conform with the provisions of this Agreement, they shall not be used as a means of avoiding the Party’s commitments or obligations under the Agreement.

That reads like a Catch-22: “You can protect the safety of your financial system, provided they don’t interfere with all the other provisions that allow furrniners to operate freely in your market, introduce new products, and move funds cross border readily or just look like you are being mean to banks.”

And it includes cute provisions like this:

Each Party shall list in its Schedule pertaining to financial services existing monopoly rights and shall endeavor to eliminate them or reduce their scope.

Fannie and Freddie are arguably monopoly providers. So does this mean that Barclays can demand to be allowed to become a GSE too? Or does this simply require that Fannie and Freddie be wound down?

Wikileaks also provided an extensive analysis by Professor Jane Kelsey of the Faculty of Law, University of Auckland. She stresses that it’s not possible to reach hard conclusions, given that this draft is now stale and that it represents only a portion of the entire pact. But she sees it as deeply troubling. I urge you to read her comments in full. Representative extracts:

The rules apply to measures that ‘affect’ the supply of financial services through foreign direct investment (commercial establishment) or offshore provision by remote delivery or services purchased in another country (cross-border). They also aim to ‘discipline’ governments in favour of a light handed and self-regulatory model of financial regulation. The substantive rules target what the financial services industry sees as obstacles to its seamless global operations, including:

1. limits on the size of financial institutions (too big to fail);
2. restrictions on activities (eg deposit taking banks that also trade on their own account);
3. requiring foreign investment through subsidiaries (regulated by the host) rather than branches (regulated from their parent state);
4. requiring that financial data is held onshore;
5. limits on funds transfers for cross-border transactions (e-finance);
6. authorisation of cross-border providers;
7. state monopolies on pension funds or disaster insurance;
8. disclosure requirements on offshore operations in tax havens;
9. certain transactions must be conducted through public exchanges, rather than invisible . over-the counter operations;
10. approval for sale of ‘innovative’ (potentially toxic) financial products;
11. regulation of credit rating agencies or financial advisers;
12. controls on hot money inflows and outflows of capital;
13. requirements that a majority of directors are locally domiciled;
14. authorisation and regulation of hedge funds; etc….

The governments that were pushing these talks moved outside the formal WTO boundaries to pursue TISA. They call themselves the ‘Really Good Friends of Services’. Their goal is to make TISA the new platform for financial services. The US has said it wants to establish new negotiating rules in TISA, get enough countries to sign on that will enable it to be incorporated into the WTO, and then have the same rules adopted for negotiations at the WTO.11 The European Commission has said TISA will use the same concepts as the GATS so that it can ‘be easily brought into the remits of the GATS.’12

It is not clear how that might happen. Either two thirds or three quarters of the Members would need to agree to TISA coming under the WTO’s umbrella, even as a plurilateral agreement.13 Countries like Brazil and India have been very critical of TISA, and the US has not allowed China to join. But the pressure on WTO Members will be immense. If the plan did succeed, many South governments that resisted the worst demands of the GATS and the services aspects of the Doha round will find they end up with something more severe.

If TISA remains outside the WTO its coverage will be limited to the signatories. That is dangerous itself. The countries that were at the centre of global finance and were responsible for the GFC will be bound to maintain the rules that allowed that to happen. The minimal reforms they have adopted post-GFC will become the maximum permitted regulation. Several recent IMF papers have referred to the ‘state of denial’ among affluent economies about the potential for further devastating crises if they maintain the current policy and regulatory regime.14 They also point out that many developing countries that took prudent steps after their experience with the Asian Financial Crisis and similar traumas are much less exposed.15 Yet the architects of TISA aim to force those countries to adopt the flawed rules they had no role in negotiating, either as the new ‘best practice’ for FTAs or through the WTO.

Yves here. As you can see, this pact is wildly misguided. It’s tantamount to giving a pyromaniac a can of gasoline and a blowtorch. As Andrew Haldane of the Bank of England pointed out, financial services firms find it profitable to create risk:

Tail risk within financial systems is not determined by God but by man; it is not exogenous but endogenous. This has important implications for regulatory control. Finance theory tells us that risk brings return. So there are natural incentives within the financial system to generate tail risk and to avoid regulatory control. In the run-up to this crisis, examples of such risk-hunting and regulatory arbitrage were legion. They included escalating leverage, increased trading portfolios and the design of tail-heavy financial instruments.

Similarly, Carmen Reinhardt and Ken Rogoff, how analyzed 800 years of information on financial crises, found that their frequency and severity was highly correlated with the level of cross border capital flows. We already have money washing around the world that has nothing to do with facilitating commerce; for instance, Claudio Borio and Piti Disyatat wrote in an important 2011 BIS paper that for the US, cross border capital flows were 60 times the value of the US current account deficit.

If readers had any doubt, this Wikileaks release should settle conclusively that Obama’s finance-friendly policies were not the product of his letting Geithner manage that store, but one of his major initiatives. A deal that cedes national sovereignity and puts in place the conditions for an even more spectacular financial train wreck is treasonous. But loyalty to communities or countries is so 20th century, and Obama has always styled himself as someone who looks forward, not back.

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50 comments

  1. Mark P.

    From Professor Kelsey’s analysis of Art X.11, Data processing and transfer.

    ‘The US proposal is … a blanket right for a financial services supplier from a TISA party to transfer information in electronic or other form in and out of the territory of another TISA party for data processing …

    ‘There is no pretence of any right for the state to protect personal privacy and data.’

    1. mellon

      This attack on local sourcing in FTAs seems really quite scary.

      This is an interesting 2003 paper on “Competition Policy” in the GATS (WTO Services Agreement). very much reading to understand some of the history of the ideas in TISA. Also, this is a recent paper on “localization” in TTIP. It discusses this war on local sourcing requirements thats going on. Some of the same ideas come up in GATS on healthcare.

      There was also a good article in the Sydney Morning Herald about TISA’ and Australia’s financial independence

      I’m still trying to sort out what it would mean to firms which do business with governments of member states. This could be a huge change with lots of unintended consequences for workers all around the globe, especially in financial, medical, IT and legal services.

      1. mellon

        Looking at other aspects of TISA, I see the requirement for national treatment in all kinds of procurement for companies from around the globe as being a huge mistake
        I see all that as being VERY disruptive. Especially for skilled people who depend on work from public entities. The core of the once middle class, teachers, nurses, and computing professionals. And probably also construction.

        No more WPA, no more Hoover Dams none of that will be possible. No way to employ our way out of the coming challenges thanks to TISA and GATS.

        Is it duplicity for pursuing TISA and the immigration bill at the same time? Kind of is. But that seems to be their way. Do some very public thing and make a lot of noise, to distract from the private betrayal.

        Climate/TTIP fracking bill

        Obamacare/hiring multinational Serco, selling insurance across state lines, triggering investor state.

        Immigration bill/TISA undercutting wages with irreversible opening to workers tied to their corporations.

  2. John Merryman

    When they do blow up the system enough that the next financial heart attack can’t be solved with another massive dose of adrenalin/credit and the global financial system does implode, countries and regions will go back to local currencies and systems, so it would seem these people are bent on destroying their own golden goose.
    All the brains of bacteria in a petri dish.

    1. human

      “They” have the resources of the world at their disposal. This incremental reach is analogous to the boiling frog (having been first placed into a pot of cool water). I’m certain that all consequences are routinely reconsidered. Acting locally is becoming more and more difficult by design. Look at the recent event of the ACLU’s FOIA request of a local police department being confiscated by the feds!

      How can anybody read this and not believe that there is a global cabal afoot? Conspiracy Fact.

      1. John Merryman

        We are just the food in the dish. As a ponzi scheme/bubble, it has to keep growing exponentially, or the various power centers start fighting amongst themselves. No honor amongst thieves.

      2. Glenn Condell

        ‘Acting locally is becoming more and more difficult by design’

        Yes, and this is why, while I sympathise with and support efforts to ‘go local’ in this way or that, I find the corollary emphasis on ‘opting out’ of the national/global matrix/borg naive and potentially dangerous. We can’t disengage with the larger units of power and control without losing the capacity to effectively ‘go local’ in the first place. It can’t be either/or; hothouse flowers won’t grow in the tundra… your ACLU eg is illustrative of how even minor threats and challenges are now routinely clipped from above.

        Once any local initiative becomes successful enough to be dangerous to TPTB they will react as Stalin did to the Pope’s disapproval – ‘how many divisions do they have?’ In fact, the way things are going, it’s hard to see how any such movement could attain such critical mass anyway.

        What a way to start the day, reading this. can’t work out which emotion is dominant; anger at the facts or depression about our apparent inability to alter them.

  3. DakotabornKansan

    This damning Wikileaks revelation is being ignored by the media.

    The masses are sheep. Mainstream media, megaphone for the global elite, are the shepherds.

    TPP financial services section agreement “is designed to institutionalize the current level of deregulation as a baseline and facilitate the introduction of new products, further ease the movement of funds, data, and key personnel, and facilitate cross-border acquisitions and other forms of market entry.”

    As Jesse – Le Cafe Americain once said, “Moving offshore to find new demand for markets while abandoning one’s domestic base to decline and failure, in the true colonial fashion of past economic empires, is a form of neurotic failure. It often lights a fire in men’s minds, and becomes a sort of self-fulfilling cultural suicide. And perhaps this is embodied in the latest corporatist deal which is the infamously secretive Trans-Pacific Partnership.”

    “It’s tantamount to giving a pyromaniac a can of gasoline and a blowtorch.”

    Let it swim in gasoline!

    “Everybody, sooner or later, sits down to a banquet of consequences.” – Robert Louis Stevenson

  4. timotheus

    I don’t see the Cayman Islands on that list. Wouldn’t their finance officials be honored guests at these powwows?

    1. mellon

      >Stunning. TISA is attempting a financial putsch.

      Yes! Where is the media on all this?

      Silent, just as they were on GATS poisoning the chances for real US health care reform.

      Instead they have swallowed the whole gridlock story as it has been fed to them. Even though the health of the whole nation is at stake.

      So don’t expect any better with this.

  5. grayslady

    Something about this strikes me as “high crimes and misdemeanors”. All of these trade agreements that weaken our national sovereignty over issues affecting the populace strike me as anti-constitutional. If we could draw a solid line, rather than a dotted line, between these actions and the Constitution, I think it would be easier to have strong talking points against these agreements that the average person could relate to and rise up against.

    1. Eureka Springs

      Treaties carry the weight of the Constitution. Great way to amend it (in secrecy as the constitution was) without consent of the U.S. House or American citizens.

      Article. VI.

      All Debts contracted and Engagements entered into, before the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be as valid against the United States under this Constitution, as under the Confederation.

      This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.

      The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.

      1. grayslady

        Yes. Well put. Secret treaties amend the Constitution in secrecy without the consent of the governed.

  6. rich

    PEU’s Need Privacy, Citizens Don’t

    As I looked at the above list of international partners in NSA surveillance, I wondered how many PEU tax havens were on the list.

    I only found two, Singapore and the Netherlands. Which list will Ukraine make next, tax haven or intelligence partner? My money is on tax haven, given its Carlyle Group and Hunter Biden connections.

    PEU’s expect privacy and purchased politicians deliver.

    http://peureport.blogspot.com/2014/06/peus-need-privacy-citizens-dont.html

  7. John

    Something does not seem right with this leak and it does not jive with what is known. Just last week Washington has expressed to Brussels banking was off of the TTIP table. Their explanation to Brussels is they have not come up to the Dodd-Frank benchmark. Of course, Team Brussels is somewhat livid in the European press.

    Brussels finance is always in competition with Washington finance, even if it means going one step towards being more sleazier. When the US passed Dodd-Frank Team Brussels was on the first plane to the Treasury and Fed Reserve offices asking for European banks to be exempted from such law. The provision Brussels is having heart burn over is the need to raise bank reserves to a new (puny) minimum. Obviously European banks are walking zombies and exposing their soul-less balance-sheets could put egg on the Commissions, ECBs, and national government faces.

    European (EU) national governments covet their banks and it explains why none of them have failed since the crises with the exception of Fortis. Europe and the USA for that matter have pumped all sorts of money at the banks to keep the afloat. Also, no top bankers have donned prison garb either. A pair of Spanish banking executives were found guilty two weeks ago for fraud but, again, did not have to spend any time watching bull fighting behind steel bars.

    It is hard to see Europe turning their banking sector over to the whims of Washington. More needs to be seen/heard about this leak before passing judgement.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Um, your assumptions are off base. You forgot the Irish banks, one of which was acquired by Hypo, which was the reason the Irish were made to backstop banks when they had no legal obligation to do so (we wrote long form about why the head of Ireland’s central bank betrayed his country).

      Generally speaking, European banks are more deregulated than American banks. London has no restrictions on rehypothecation. Eurobanks carry much lower capital levels. The weak tea of Dodd Frank is way stronger than anything that has been implemented across the pond (save maybe the Vickers reforms in the UK). And the reason Europe is being put through the austerity wringer was to keep from exposing the insolvency of French and German banks.

      I got this note from the folks at Public Citizen, who have been all over the secret trade deals like no other group. They’ve done amazing work:

      Actually, the article is accurate that the leaked text comes from a completely separate deal from the TPP and TTIP/TAFTA. TISA is a “coalition of the willing” deal that would go even beyond deregulatory, 1990s-era WTO rules in binding governments’ prerogative to regulate in financial, energy, health, and other critical service sectors. The leaked TISA annex specifies some of the provisions to which financial regulations must conform, including a “standstill” provision that explicitly bars new regulations that do not comply with the deal’s terms. TISA negotiating members include the U.S., EU, and about 20 other countries (no BRICS countries are members, though China has indicated interest). They have held six negotiating rounds, with the seventh scheduled for next week. See below for Lori’s statement on yesterday’s leak.

      Statement of Lori Wallach, Director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch, on Text of Trade in Services Agreement (TISA) Financial Services Text that Has Been Posted on Wikileaks Today

      “If the text that was leaked today went into force, it would roll back the improvements made after the global financial crisis to safeguard consumers and financial stability and cement us into the extreme deregulatory model of the 1990s that led to the crisis in the first place and the billions in losses to consumers and governments.

      This is a text that big banks and financial speculators may love but that could do real damage to the rest of us. It includes a provision that is literally called ‘standstill’ that would forbid countries from improving financial regulation and would lock them into whatever policies they had on the books in the past.”

  8. TedWa

    Secret deals drawn up in secret and passed in secret that can’t be challenged. “The TISA text is classified for five years after it becomes effective or negotiations are terminated, which exceeds the four-year blackout imposed by the TTP and the TTIP.” Sounds a lot like Obama’s FISA court and the NSA.
    “A deal that cedes national sovereignity and puts in place the conditions for an even more spectacular financial train wreck is treasonous.” Couldn’t agree more.
    It seems corporations and the banksters are trying to force us all to comply by changing the world around us with these mis-named trade agreements. They can’t do it directly because we still have the vote.

    1. Glenn Condell

      ‘They can’t do it directly because we still have the vote’

      A fat lot of good that does us.

  9. The Heretic

    Who are the authors and contributors to these trade and financial agreements? They need to be confronted, exposed and forced to justify their positions, which would naturally lead to their disgrace. Whom in the goverment is approving of these ridiculous documents. The democratic governments should stop being the shill of these privateer corporations and thier financial slave masters.

    This illustrates the danger of large strong governments that work on behalf of the oligarchy. It is in situations like this that Libertarians, Tea partiers and Anarchists gain justification for their anti-government views. However the solution to this corruption is free press, an engaged and informed citizeny with a strong sense of solidarity for each other, and a strong justice system and political system, devoted to transparency and ethics, staffed by and working on behalf of the lower 90%.

    I suspect that getting the citizenry to have a sense of solidarity and engagement with the 90% would be the key step for change; but how to cultivate this?

    1. James Levy

      Disgrace in the eyes of whom? Anyone with money and power? I doubt it. The elite consensus, reflected in all the media, is that 1) markets economics are the only way to go, 2) America is and must remain a financial powerhouse at any cost to Joe Sixpack, 3) there is no alternative, and 4) free trade and deregulation are always a good thing. There is no space in the national discourse to oppose these policies, no less “shame” anyone into doing the right thing. Worth a try, of course, but don’t hold your breathe. It’s like torture: something 20 years ago only monstrous “regimes” did, now something for the MSM to shrug its shoulders over

  10. Francois T

    Treaties must be approved by Congress to become Law of the Land.

    Given the immense popularity (snark+++) of Big Finance nowadays…that is not going to happen anytime soon

    1. scraping_by

      Big Finance’s money is very popular in Congress. Bribery is legal, by observing a few silly strictures.

  11. mellon

    Since Ive already posted the link here a lot, I won’t, I will just ask that people read Nicholas Skala’s 2009 paper on GATS, which is easy to find on the PHNP web site with Google. It describes how the previous services agreement GATS, is behind the healthcare mess in the USA right now. That’s a huge, uncovered news story that should be written. Maybe now is the time.

    1. TheCatSaid

      I wouldn’t mind seeing that link, even if you’ve posted it before.
      Can you say a little more about the implications for healthcare?

  12. bluntobj

    Heretic,

    I imagine that it would require a free press that focused on the evil, corrupt, and profit maximizing government structures, agencies, and officials. A press that did not demonize libertarians, Tea Partiers, Anarchists, and other anti-.gov people. A press that believed in the entire constitution, not their little chunk of it.

    But that’s not what we have, right? As Yves noted, this is not a major story like it should be. There is no “free press” except in the blogosphere, and efforts are underway to marginalize and criminalize that medium.

    As to what will wake people up; A boot on the neck for growing vegetables contrary to USDA regulations, being shot for requiring a warrant as per the 4th amendment for a house search during an “emergency”, hyperinflation, etc. Or maybe not. I think that most people would rather not be awakened, because the reality is too nightmarish to be believed.

    Opt out of the overreaching system while you can.

    1. Glenn Condell

      ‘Opt out of the overreaching system while you can’

      But that’s what the contrarian veggie-grower was doing…

      Nightmarish is right, and only a combination of going local and ‘fight the power’ will work, but I freely admit to being afraid to do the latter, which seems to have an inhibitory effect on attempting the former.

      I guess if we all feel that way, it’s ‘mission accomplished’

  13. bosto

    Yves, you nailed it in your last paragraph with the sentence ending in “treasonous.” TISA is just another data point in the treasonous pattern of debacles created by this administration. Fools abound that chalk these moves off to blundering instead of an execution of the paternal vindictive stratagem. Recognize that It’s for real folks and prepare for extreme measures that will be required to turn this around if not already too late.

  14. redleg

    This is more analogous a pressure cooker than a boiling frog. These things get enacted, a critical mass of peasants will eventually decide to burn things. It might take 100 years, but it will happen eventually once people have nothing left to lose.

    1. Glenn Condell

      Reminds me of Chalmers Johnson’s formulation: ‘we can have democracy or we can have empire; we can’t have both’

    2. TedWa

      “Democracy, national sovereignty and global economic integration are mutually incompatible. It’s possible to have any 2 but not all 3. It’s the inescapable trilemma of a world economy” – Dani Rodrik He is the among the 100 most influential economists in the world according to IDEAS/RePEc.

  15. bluntobj

    Linky to the RT story now up on Drudge. Let’s see if the MSM pick it up or write it off as kooky conspiracy theory.

  16. MikeW_CA

    It’s simple, really. We must demand that Congress shall _never_ approve any Trade Agreement which contains any part which is not made public.

  17. downunderer

    FWIW, Radio New Zealand news *did* mention this in its 6am news this morning (it’s now Saturday the 21st here). I had heard/read nothing about it despite checking the online news before bed last night, so I was surprised by the mention of a scurrilous international deal that sounded bigger than the TPP (‘over 50 nations’ negotiating) and to hear an unfamiliar acronym. Many thanks for helping blow the whistle on this,Yves, especially since the association with Wikileaks (and the treatment given Assange and Snowden) seems to have silenced so many weaklings and collaborators.

  18. wendyedavis

    Yves, this may to late to read, but from the ‘Our World is Not for Sale’ analysis of TISA:

    ““At the beginning of 2012, about 20 members (counting the EU as one) of the World Trade Organization (WTO) calling themselves “The Really Good Friends of Services” (RGF) launched secret unofficial talks towards drafting a treaty that would further liberalize trade and investment in services,and expand “regulatory disciplines” on all services sectors, including many public services. The “disciplines,” or treaty rules, would provide foreign services providers free access to domestic markets at “no less favorable” conditions than domestic suppliers and would restrict governments’ability to regulate services. This would essentially change the regulation of many public and privatized or commercial services from serving the public interest to serving the profit interests of private, foreign corporations.

    Negotiations occurred throughout 2013 in conjunction with the meetings of the Council on Trade in Services in the WTO, with the aim of finalizing very ambitious agreement on far-reaching services liberalization and disciplining government. [snip]

    “They are also pushing for parallel negotiations on the liberalization of services in the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) through the re-start of the Doha Round.

    Where did that crazy idea come from?

    The TISA negotiations follow the corporate agenda of using “trade” agreements to make privatization non-reversible, and to promote mergers and acquisitions and deregulation, in order to ensure greater corporate control and profit making of national economies and the global economy. The proposed agreement is the direct result of systematic pressure by transnational corporations in banking, energy, insurance, telecommunications, transportation, water, and other services sectors, working through lobby groups like the US Coalition of Service Industries (USCSI) and the European Services Forum (ESF). In fact, in the early 1980s, the financial lobby started to press for what would become the GATS to be included in the WTO at the time of its founding in 1995.”

    Now I peeked into USCI’s website and found that this week they did a ‘Team TiSA’ launch on Capitol Hill (in part):

    “USTR Michael Froman, House Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp, members of Congress, and Japanese Ambassador Sasae address Team TiSA Launch Event

    In addition to Ambassador Froman and Congressman Camp, the audience also heard from Rep. Sandy Levin, Ranking Member of the House Ways and Means Committee; Congressmen Dave Reichert and Gregory Meeks, two prominent members of the Congressional Services Caucus; Sen. Ron Wyden, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee; and Ambassador Kenichiro Sasae of Japan. A photo gallery of the event is available at the bottom of the page.”

    Makes one wonder if that had something to do with the timing of WikiLeaks leaking the pages. (Sorry I don’t know how to hyperlink by html) : http://teamtisa.org/index.php/news-and-announcements/announcements

    1. bluntobj

      And for those thinking that congress would never approve such a trade deal, there are 4 names right there that are going to be driving this through. Don’t fool yourself that they will not. Unless all details are leaked beforehand, it’s gonna be another “you have to pass the bill to read what’s in it” situation.

  19. TheCatSaid

    TiSA is another example of reality being worse than my most cynical expectations.

    Time to phone the congress folks again. . .

  20. TedWa

    They’re trying and succeeding to subvert our republic by doing a totalitarian end around, globally. Definitely enlighten your congress people. No trade agreements made in secret ! The cockroaches can’t stand the light on their doings.

  21. TedWa

    Here’s another thought, the recent immigration problems with Mexico are directly related to NAFTA destroying their agriculture industry.

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