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Secret Trade in Services Agreement draft has been leaked

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Zach McAuliffe
Zach McAuliffe is a University of Dayton alumni with degrees in journalism and English. He wants to present people with all the facts they need to make informed decisions on the world around them. He also enjoys Shakespeare and long walks on the beach with his puppy Lily.

A draft of the secret Trade in Services Agreement (TISA)  Financial Services Annex has been released by WikiLeaks today in a press release.

In an anti-transparency feat, the draft is meant to remain private during the negotiations which started in April 2013, and are set to commence for a seventh round of talks from June 23-27 in Geneva, Switzerland.  An amendment is also in place within the Agreement to keep it a secret for five years after its inception if it does pass.

According to the draft, financial multi-nationals would be assisted in expansion to other nations with no interference from regulatory barriers, resulting in cross-border data flow between other government entities and third-parties.

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Cross-border data flow includes financial reports and personal data from citizens and corporations alike, of which the report says the U.S. is “particularly keen on boosting.”

This would allow for the dissemination of citizen’s financial and personal data not only across their own government, but across the governments of all other members included in the Agreement.

Preventative regulations to stop such actions were set in place after the financial collapse and crisis from 2007-2008.

TISA is being set up outside of the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS), but when the draft is finished, the report says the agreement will be “crafted to be compatible” with any GATS regulations set in place.

GATS was set up, according to the World Trade Organization, to ensure “fair and equitable treatment of all participants,” and “promoting trade… through progressive liberalization.”  GATS also calls for members to publish all measures of general application and to present transparency in terms of their policies.

If TISA were to be passed, the Agreement would not be in violation of any of the measures set in place by GATS.

The Agreement would also allow nations already signed on to be able to bully and pressure other nations into signing the Agreement, forfeiting their internal data to the other nations in the process.

TISA covers over fifty countries including major world and financial leaders such as the United States and all members of the EU, while also covering many financially weaker countries such as Colombia and Pakistan.

The BRICS countries, Brazil, Russia, India, and China, are all absent from the draft and subsequent agreements.  This may be an attempt to soften the financial stability and bargaining power of such countries in future services negotiations.

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