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Speaking points: Trade In Services Agreement (TISA) Research paper release and global actions – 28 April 2014

28 April, 2014


  • If governments have nothing to hide they should immediately release all text under negotiation.
  • Participating governments must provide full consultation and disclosure. 
  • Civil society, workers, unions and consumers should know what new laws their governments are negotiating and should be included in the decision-making process.
  • Local and regional governments, whose democratic and regulatory authority could be seriously affected, must be fully consulted.
  • The corrosive impact of such wide-ranging negotiations occurring outside the multilateral process cannot be supported.

Quality public services

  • Broadly defined public services must be carved out of all trade agreements. 
  • There is no place for public services in trade agreements that focus on market mechanisms and for-profit provision.
  • The market does not provide clean energy, water, health and education to the poorest in our communities.
  • Public services should not be included in trade agreements that hinder government’s ability to provide these services.
  • Provision of quality public services requires governments to have the maximum possible policy space and all possible regulatory tools.
  • With growing corporate revenue that should provide a fair share of taxes for public funding, providing universally accessible quality public services should be more possible than ever.


  • Trade agreements should not encourage privatisation.
  • Reports indicate the TISA could:
  • lock in future privatisation by making it legally irreversible;
  • raise the costs of expanding existing services or creating new ones;
  • increase the bargaining power of corporations to block initiatives when new public services are proposed or implemented.

Government regulation

  • The TISA should not expand the deregulatory requirements that already exist in the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS), but instead roll them back.
  • GATS prohibits many public interest regulations that apply equally to domestic and foreign firms to promote financial stability, consumer safety, public health, environmental quality and universal access to education, water, energy and transport services.

Binding future governments

  • The TISA should not bind the hands of future democratically-elected governments.
  • The TISA should not obligate governments to automatically cover all “new services,” including those that have not even been invented yet. 

Sectoral regulations

  • These talks are aimed at developing binding regulatory templates for a range of services sectors in order to facilitate the entry of foreign commercial providers.
  • Trade negotiators have a core mandate of increasing foreign trade and commercial expansion. 
  • Trade negotiators should not have authority to negotiate sectoral regulations – as these are designed to uphold public interest regulations that protect consumers, workers or our environment.
  • The TISA should not bind governments in non-discriminatory areas.
  • Broad exceptions to public services must be made under these provisions – and not be qualified by necessity tests and other pro-market requirements biased towards global service providers.

Negative list

  • A negative list means that any public service or regulatory area that a government neglects to identify for protection, even inadvertently, can be challenged as subject to the free trade provisions.

Migrant workers

  • Workers are not commodities and should not have their movements regulated by trade agreements.
  • Unlike goods and services, people require institutions to protect their human rights.
  • Only the normative standard-setting process of the tripartite International Labour Organization (ILO) is competent to regulate labour migration. 

Financial stability

  • The deregulation and liberalisation rules of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in the financial services sector set the stage for the global financial crisis.
  • The G20, most governments and even the International Monetary Fund (IMF) recognize the need for financial re-regulation.
  • No further deregulation or liberalisation of financial services should be undertaken within the WTO.
  • Existing and proposed GATS rules should be reviewed and changed to allow policy space for all countries to use macro-prudential measures, such as:
  • capital controls;
  • financial transaction taxes;
  • other financial regulatory and prudential measures.

For more information:  www.world-psi.org/TISA


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