TiSA: when everything is a service, a ‘Trade in Services Agreement’ affects everyone

From the International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers’ Associations

Since 2013, a conclave of governments calling themselves ‘The Really Good Friends of Services’, has been negotiating a secretive ‘Trade in Services Agreement’ (TiSA) that would set the rules for twentieth century capitalism and place these rules beyond the reach of government regulation, now and in the future.

A new report TiSA: Not our Future!  prepared for the IUF reveals the scope of the corporate power grab through a close examination of TiSA’s potential impact on workers across the IUF sectors and TiSA’s broader implications for the labour movement, society and democratic governance.

The report explains in plain language the meaning and context of TiSA’s complex rules and how they are designed to lock in the corporate agenda. Under current WTO rules, the products of IUF sectors like food processing and beverage manufacturing, agriculture and fisheries are treated as goods the moment they cross borders.

TiSA introduces another layer of rules, under which every current and future task performed by workers in these sectors can be treated as a discrete, stand-alone ‘service’ to be outsourced to a transnational ‘service provider’ who is liberated and protected by TiSA’s rules. In the IUF sectors already treated as services – hotels, restaurants, catering – TiSA gives new impetus and encouragement to the ongoing process of outsourcing and casualization.

‘E-commerce’ rules in TiSA are not about online shopping. They are about the control of the algorithms and data flows which are essential to the corporate-driven digitalization of everything, including work. TiSA would accelerate a process of digitalized automation potentially resulting in massive job destruction, while its rules would radically reduce the possibility for workers to negotiate the application and impact of these new technologies. At the same time, TiSA’s rules on financial services effectively preclude meaningful efforts to regulate the crisis-prone financial sector through new laws or regulations.

The volatile, speculative flow of money which increasingly drives food production and the global economy acquires even greater power to disrupt.

CLICK HERE to learn more and to download the report.

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