World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 

WTO "services" negotiations threaten democracy

Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


September 13, 2000

World Trade Organization's new "services" negotiations threaten democracy-study

Despite the dramatic breakdown of global trade talks in Seattle in December 1999, sweeping negotiations are now quietly underway in Geneva to subject an ever-greater degree of democratic decision-making to oversight by the World Trade Organization (WTO).

These negotiations are aimed at expanding the General Agreement on Trade in Services (or GATS). The GATS is currently being re-negotiated behind closed doors in close consultation with international corporate lobbyists.

"This agreement is designed to help transnational service corporations constrain and override democratic governance," trade specialist Scott Sinclair concludes in a new study for the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.

The study exposes the WTO "services" agreement to critical public scrutiny for the first time. It describes how the GATS' ultimate purpose is to commercialize every service sector in every WTO member country - including essential public services such as education, water and health care.

The GATS, Sinclair points out, is not confined to cross-border trade in services. He shows how an expanded GATS threatens domestic and international regulation to protect the environment, conserve natural resources, and provide universal public services.

The book also analyzes how the existing GATS has already played a pivotal role in several important WTO disputes, such as the recent ruling that struck down the Canada-U.S. Auto Pact. "The rulings in these cases," says Sinclair, "show that the GATS can be used to challenge an almost unlimited range of government regulatory measures that, even indirectly or unintentionally, affect the conditions of competition of international service suppliers."

Despite its importance, very few Canadians including politicians know or understand the GATS, let alone its planned expansion. "They have a lot of catching-up to do." says Sinclair.

Scott Sinclair is a Canadian trade policy specialist with extensive international trade policy expertise and experience. He has advised several Canadian provincial and territorial governments, including five years as a senior trade policy advisor to the Government of British Columbia. He is currently a senior research associate at the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Decriminalising Same-Sex Relationships: UN Rights Chief Applauds Indian Decision

“This is a great day for India and for all those who believe in the universality of human rights," Bachelet said. "With this landmark decision, the Indian Supreme Court has taken a big step forward for freedom and equality...” More>>

ALSO:

Myanmar: UN Chief Rohingya Refugee Crisis Enters Second Year

Over 700,000 Rohingya fled Myanmar to ramshackle refugee camps in neighbouring Bangladesh’s Cox’s Bazar area, Bangladesh after being forced from their homes by a military operation which UN human rights chief Zeid Ra’ad al Hussein compared, at the time, to ethnic cleansing. More>>

ALSO:

Scott Morrison In Hot Seat: NZ Congratulates Current Australian PM

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has today congratulated Scott Morrison on winning the leadership of the Australian Liberal Party and has acknowledged outgoing Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull. More>>

ALSO:

Swing States: Gordon Campbell On Why The US Needs MMP

After the bizarre events this week in Helsinki, the world will be hoping and praying that the US midterm elections in November can put a restraining brake on the presidency of Donald Trump. This may happen, but there’s a highly undemocratic reason why such hopes may be frustrated. More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 
 
  • Pacific.Scoop
  • Cafe Pacific
  • PMC