On Alert –TiSA is around!

by Sofia

In my neighbourhood the atmosphere is festive. And as a neighbour, I am sharing their happiness too. After years of gradual downslide into autocracy, Turkey has recently had elections (more here), where it seems everyone will have some degree of representation, from various political wings to diverse ethnic communities.

After a few days of celebration the new parliament (hopefully without any surprises) will have to face realities left from the previous one.

One of the realities is TiSA (Trade in Services Agreement). Turkey, along with 51 other siblings in misfortune (though we are made to believe it is fortune), will have to face negotiations over an agreement, the documents around which are planned to be secret for 5 years after TiSA is signed(the final TiSA treaty itself will be published after it is signed). This agreement is negotiated between the U.S., the EU, Canada, Mexico, Australia, Israel, South Korea, Japan, Norway, Switzerland, Turkey and other countries. “Thanks” to the deal, global trade would be liberalized in areas such as air and maritime transport, package delivery, e-commerce, telecommunications, engineering, health care, private education, financial and other services.

However, liberalization would mean more than no discrimination against foreign providers of services. These foreign companies will have the power to restrict the way these governments manage their public laws. That said, if you don’t like working for 48 hours per week in some U.S. company branch in your own country (who likes it after all?), you can expect little support from you government protecting your right to 40 hours per week (as if that is little) because the company can claim that the government discriminates against it (fun, right?). Moreover, it can sue that government for such discrimination and claim compensation for its future losses (future? really?).

But in addition to that, this trade agreement will make it easier to privatize state-owned enterprises (by the time they reach Armenia, little will be left to the state anyways, since everything is in the process of being privatized here), as well as making it easy to turn public services private (free healthcare/education? – forget it).

As I continue reading my source, I see that this agreement, among other things, would make it impossible for the governments to ban fracking. Remember? I talked about fracking in general and particularly in Turkey in this post. So there will be little use to protest once they sign this agreement.

And we don’t even speak about personal privacy (who would care about it then?), since all financial service providers can easily transfer individual data out of the country that signed this agreement, regardless of what laws that country has related to privacy.

Little mathematics is left as to who will benefit from all of these, once the big corporations based in the U.S. or Canada will compete for providing services with smaller ones in the developing states. Whatever democratic aspirations we have will be kneeled down to profits ONLY. And of course profits for the big corporations.

For more info on TTIP – sibling agreement between the EU and the US – and opposition to it, as well as where we get our sources from, keep on reading Theresa’s short and smart series on trade agreements and their human rights impacts.


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