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Massive leak of TISA trade documents “highlights madness of secrecy”

02 June 2015
Photo: Alberto Ortiz - Creative Commons
The largest ever leak of negotiating documents from the controversial Trade in Services Agreement (TISA) highlights the madness of secrecy and provides no comfort for users of public services.

Seventeen separate secret documents were released today including working papers and nine critical annexes on sensitive sectors such as financial services, postal services, maritime, domestic regulation, telecommunications, professional services, and labour migration.

"It is outrageous that our democratically elected governments will not tell us the laws they are making. What has our democracy come to when the community must rely on Wikileaks to find out what our governments are doing on our behalf” Rosa Pavanelli, PSI General Secretary said.

"The irony of the text containing repeated references to transparency, and an entire Annex on transparency requiring governments to provide information useful to business, being negotiated in secret from the population exposes in whose interests these agreements are being made” she said.

The latest leaks highlight the cat and mouse game being played by the nations negotiating the TISA. A large part of the negotiations is now in the public eye yet there is still huge uncertainty about the actual consequences of the negotiations as understanding the full implications requires the whole text. Pavanelli said:

“Both the European Union and the United States of America have made broad statements about the protections afforded public services but these leaks provide little support for that claim. In fact, the scope and nature of the proposed liberalisation suggested by these leaks heightens our concerns.”

Wikileaks today released secret draft text from the Trades in Services Agreement. Fronting themselves as the ´Really Good Friends of Services,’ a group of 50 countries—representing an estimated 70 per cent share of the world’s trade in services—are secretly negotiating the TISA.

The TISA will restrict a government’s right to regulate stronger standards in the public’s interest. For example, it will affect environmental regulations, licensing of health facilities and laboratories, waste disposal centres, power plants, school and university accreditation and broadcast licenses. The proposed deal will also restrict a government’s ability to regulate key sectors including financial, energy, telecommunications and cross-border data flows.

The TISA will specifically limit the ability of governments to regulate the financial services industry at exactly the time when the global economy is still recovering from a crisis caused by financial deregulation.

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