Until recently, international trade agreements were handled through the World Trade Organization. But because all countries participate equally in WTO negotiations, the leading imperialist nations (and the corporations which set their policy) haven’t had it all their own way.
The WTO’s General Agreement on Trade In Services, known as GATS, was set in 1995. In 2001 the WTO set about revising its agreements in the so-called “Doha Round”, launched in Doha, Qatar. And these agreements have stalled as developing countries have simply said no to the US and the EU.
So the US and the EU have tried another tack: negotiate agreements with your friends outside of the restrictions of the WTO, and attempt to get your new standards imported back into the WTO – or at least establish them as de facto global rules.
China saw what was happening straight away, and asked to be part of the TISA talks. But none of the so-called BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) are included in the TiSA talks – after all, that would move things too close to the WTO model, which so far has failed to deliver what imperialism wants.
One key difference between GATS and TiSA is that under TiSA, countries will have far less power to restrict market access to foreign companies, especially in areas not covered by GATS, such as domestic regulation or e-commerce.
Another is that in GATS, countries are only required to give equal market access to foreign companies if they have explicitly agreed to. In TiSA, they will be required to give equal access only if they don’t have specific rules to the contrary for a specific sector.
The overall effect of TiSA would be to prevent developing countries from building up their own industries – especially in new technologies and services.
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