TiSA (Trade in Services Agreement) – Trade talks: UNI Finance is calling US and EU governments to stop hiding away from democracy
Once again, WikiLeaks has revealed the intent of a few top leaders, especially from the US and EU, to agree behind closed doors on a major agreement which would further liberalize financial services and jeopardize financial regulation.
The TiSA negotiations include Australia, Canada, Chile, Chinese Taipei, Colombia, Costa Rica, European Union (28 Member States), Hong Kong, Iceland, Israel, Japan, Liechtenstein, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Republic of Korea, Switzerland, Turkey and the United States.
For Marcio Monzane, Head of UNI Finance, “the TiSA draft agreement is clearly a bad choice for the global economy, both in terms of content and in terms of process. The content reveals a very bizarre attempt to reverse all the recent efforts that have been made by the FSB and the G20 to reregulate the financial sector and prevent future crisis. The process shows that governments are negotiating in secret, under pressure from the powerful lobby of the finance industry and hiding away from the citizens they are supposed to represent. Last but not least, the mere fact that major emerging economies such as Brazil, India and South Africa are not included may lead these negotiations to fail.”
Sharan Burrow, ITUC General Secretary, said, “Governments are negotiating away financial regulation in secret, instead of tackling the unfinished regulation task that triggered the current global economic crisis in 2007. It defies belief that they are actually planning to help the already ‘too big to fail’ banks and other financial conglomerates to expand."
The leaked draft includes self-defeating provisions that would reinforce the power of big finance over democratic processes, with bizarre clauses such as:
“Notwithstanding any other provision of the Agreement”, prudential measures are allowed in order to “ensure the integrity and stability of a Party’s financial system”, but “[w]here such measures do not conform with the provisions of this Agreement, they shall not be used […]”.
The proposed TiSA rules on financial services go hand-in-hand with “investment protection” provisions of bilateral investment treaties (BITs). Investors in financial products of other countries will effectively be granted the privilege to contest financial regulation and decisions of competent authorities through private dispute procedures.
On top of the drive to give the finance sector free reign over sovereign states, the TiSA proposals also aim to liberalise professional services, information technology, construction and social and public services, a move sharply criticised by the Public Services International (PSI). The PSI and UNI Global Union have called for the TiSA negotiations to be stopped.
In Europe, the European Trade Union Confederation called on negotiators to reject clauses that would stop governments exercising regulatory and licensing authority to buy back privatised public services and utilities as well as removing consumer protection and limiting the scope for public policy.
Unions around the world are joining forces and providing support to a global coalition of civil society actors lead by Public Ciitzens in the US. They are also mobilizing at the national level, especially in New Zealand and Australia, a country which will also the next G20 summit in Brisbane in November 2014.
Leon Carter, the national secretary for the Financial Services Union in Australia said that there was “a real danger” that the negotiations “could undo the effective regulation that sheltered Australia from the global financial crisis” and result “in a tidal wave of finance job losses in Australia”.
To read the Auckland University’s Professor Jane Kelsey’s analysis https://wikileaks.org/tisa-financial/analysis.html
ITUC Statement : http://www.ituc-csi.org