Lori Wallach, director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch, author of “The Rise and Fall of Fast Track Trade Authority” and former Truthdigger of the Week, explains to “Democracy Now!” the meaning of a secret draft text of the Trade in Services Agreement, a proposal that would forbid signatory countries from improving financial regulation within their borders.
The program reports:
The pro-transparency group WikiLeaks has released the secret draft text for the Trade in Services Agreement, TISA, a trade agreement covering 50 countries and more than 68 percent of world trade in service. Until now, the draft has been classified to keep it clandestine not only during the negotiations but also for five years post-enactment. … The draft Financial Services Annex would also establish rules favorable to the expansion of financial multinationals into other nations by preventing regulatory obstacles. The draft text comes from the April 2014 negotiation round.
When asked by host Juan Gonzalez what Wallach found most objectionable about the plan, she responded:
Well, the single most glaring and easy-to-understand piece of it, if you want to—if viewers want to take a look at it, is a provision that’s literally called “standstill.” And what it means is you have to have your regulations stand still as to where they were. And practically, it means—let’s say you want to ban a certain kind of derivative that gets created, and it’s a disaster—it causes speculation and instability. You’re forbidden from having new financial regulations. But the tricky part about this is, if you look at the way the different versions of that provision are written, it may require countries to stand still relative to where they were when the WTO services agreement was established in the 1990s, and that would mean all of these new regulations that were put into effect after the global financial crisis would automatically be violations. So the way the language is written, maybe it’s standstill from 1994. And if that’s the case, it would automatically reverse—would make trade violations out of—wouldn’t automatically reverse, would make trade violations out of all of these new re-regulations. Certainly it would not allow you to do anything new, going forward. But the way the different versions of the text are written, I think it refers back to the old commitments from the ‘90s, and that’s where you’re frozen. That’s perhaps the most pernicious.
—Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.