EPSU joins movements concerned about the secret nature and impact of a Trade in Services agreement (TISA)

(4 September 2013) The 27 countries of the EU have joined the “Really Good Friends” of Trade in Services. The aim is to negotiate a Treaty that would open services sectors to more competition and limited the opportunities for government to regulate and control corporations active in their country. The negotiations also make a link with the liberalization of the temporary movement of natural persons (migrant workers) without offering protection.

Many civil society groups argue that such movement of workers is outside the competence of trade and trade ministers and should be dealt with via the International Labour Organisation. The groups have strong concerns about the impact on public services, regulation in the public interest and democracy as the negotiations are secretive and take place without parliamentary scrutiny. EPSU joins PSI, other unions, many NGO networks and social movements in asking the Really Good Friends to abandon the negotiations.

The other ”really good friends” are Australia, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Hong Kong, Iceland, Israel, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Panama, Pakistan, Peru, South Korea, Switzerland, Taiwan, Turkey, the United States (and the EU which act with one voice in trade negotiations).

- The sign-on letter

- Press release of the Our World is Not for Sale Coalition

- For a background briefing of PSI

- PSI is also part of the Our World is Not for Sale coalition-> http://www.ourworldisnotforsale.org/] which follows these and other trade negotiations critically. It is a source of critical analysis on several aspects of the agenda dominated by the corporations.

- The conservative and right-wing dominated European Parliament adopted a [resolution
in favour of the negotiations. It does note that the European Commission should be “defending European sensitivities regarding public services and services of general interest (as defined in the EU Treaties), in the areas of public education, public health, water supply and waste management and by continuing, as is the case under the GATS and bilateral FTAs, not to make any commitments in relation to audiovisual services or cultural services.” The Parliament does criticize the Council for not taking its views into account when it adopted the mandate for the Commission in March 2013

- For a briefing on the plurilateral agreement of the European Parliament

- The negotiations are actively promoted by the European Services Forum, a group of corporate interests that promote the liberalization of services. Its work and lobby is followed closely by Corporate Europe Observatory a research and campaign group focused on exposing the lobby work of corporations to influence the political agenda at the detriment of the public interest.

One example is that the European Commission when preparing for the EU-US trade talks had 119 meetings with industry lobbyists. "In response to an access to documents request from Corporate Europe Observatory, the European Commission has released a list of 130 ‘meetings with stakeholders’ on the EU-US free trade talks (TTIP). At least 119 meetings were with large corporations and their lobby groups. This means that more than 93% of the Commission’s meetings with stakeholders during the preparations of the negotiations were with big business. The list of meetings reveals that, in addition to the civil society dialogue meetings reported on the DG Trade website, there is a parallel world of a very large number of intimate meetings with big business lobbyists behind closed doors - and these are not disclosed online."

- Read more here

See also:

ETUC resolution on EU investment policy

ETUC position on the transatlantic trade and investment partnership (TTIP)

ETUC and ITUC joint statement on the Trade in Services Agreement (TISA)

ETUC/CLC statement on CETA

European Commission public consultation on TiSA

EPSU public services network section

- Challenging Corporate Power – Investment and Impunity in an era of crisis

We are all small farmers – a call for renegotiation of free trade agreements and resistance to secret talks

Our colleagues of the IUF, the International Food Workers union, are supporting the broad based Columbian resistance against the impact of the US-Columbia Free Trade Agreement and a similar one between the EU and Columbia which are having a devastating impact on the situation of small farmers and other agricultural workers in society. The agreements have led to a drop in prices for products of Columbian agriculture as cheap products flood the local market. It also allowed for the grabbing of land at the benefit of large multinational companies.

The movement is joined by health workers that protest the reform of the health services-> http://www.cut.org.co/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=4485] truckers and many others. Several national strikes have taken place but the government has imprisoned leaders of the unions.

The articles in the agreements to protect workers and farmers against the negative impact of free trade prove to be meaningless. EPSU has supported the critique of the <a href="/es/node/8422">EU-Columbia free trade agreement on several occasions</a> and adopted a resolution demanding that [trade union rights and social welfare are put before the interests of trade at its 2009 Congress
. Columbia is also one of the so-called Really Good Friends of Services which seeks to negotiate an international trade on Services (see above).
[For a report on the impact of free trade on Columbian workers-> http://cms.iuf.org/?q=print/2732].

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