bilaterals.org logo
bilaterals.org logo

TiSA

TiSA: Trade in Services Agreement

TiSA is a new trade agreement being negotiated on services. The TiSA talks are taking place outside the frame of the World Trade Organisation and its General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS), even though they began among a group of WTO members. TiSA is explicitly meant to go beyond the WTO/GATS. If it is finalised, it may eventually become part of the WTO or simply stand on its own, but either way, its provisions will certainly be carried into other bilateral and plurilateral trade deals.

The countries negotiating TiSA are: Australia, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, European Union, Hong Kong, Israel, Japan, Liechtenstein, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Pakistan, Panama, Peru, South Korea, Switzerland, Taiwan, Turkey and the United States. These countries account for about two-thirds of global trade in services. However, major world economies such as China, India or Brazil are not present in these negotiations and that the BRICS and ASEAN groupings are not included. In September 2015, Uruguay and Paraguay dropped out of the TiSA negotations, after massive popular opposition to the deal.

TiSA seeks the elimination of regulations and national legislation concerning services. There is a strong North-South asymmetry in the negotiating positions, creating significant distortions in the manoeuvring space that governments have to design and implement domestic policies in a wide variety of topics. TiSA’s “sectoral annexes” (key chapters) are: movement of persons, financial services, telecommunications, shipping, air services, postal services, professional services, electronic commerce, freight, public procurement, environment, direct distribution, subsidies, energy and services related to health. In addition to the “sectoral annexes”, the parties are negotiating other “specific disciplines” such as domestic regulation, transparency and location. The United States is particularly interested in liberalisation of financial services, information and communication technology, postal services and seeing progress on domestic regulation. The European Union also has a strong interest in liberalising financial services. Both the EU and the US are home to transnational leaders in these sectors, so they would gain the most.

Of particular concern are the “status quo” clause, the “ratchet” clause, “national treatment” and the use of “negative lists”. This approach involves making commitments based on lists indicating sectors which each negotiating party wants to exclude from the negotiations. It creates major distortions and departs from the provisions of the multilateral framework of the WTO. These clauses and the negative list approach are meant to secure greater and deeper market openings, liberalisation and deregulation, at the same time reducing the role of the state.

Wikileaks has played a critical role in exposing the draft TiSA texts under negotiation and helping to provide analysis and understanding of what is at stake. In many countries, labour unions are on the front line of the resistance to TiSA because so many people are employed in the service sector. Whether they are people working in the ports of Canada or the hospitals of India, TiSA directly threatens to take away jobs.

Eventually the negotiations failed in 2016 and they have been put on hold since then because the governments of the rich countries could not agree among themselves.

with the contribution of REDES (Friends of the Earth, Uruguay)

last update: August 2020


TiSA negotiations fall victim to the Trump tremor
In these quixotic and post-truth times, nemesis has its subtle ways of catching up with the reality.
Bell tolls for TiSA
The meeting was supposed to bring the three-year-old talks to a close, but major obstacles between the United States and European Union bogged down the negotiators.
TiSA: Trade in Services Agreement is bad news for workers and communities
In November 2016, the International Trade union Confederation published analysis of the expected impact of TiSA on workers and service providers
A swan song for TiSA talks
The prospects for concluding negotiations on the Trade in Services Agreement now appear slim.
Is the EU abandoning freedom of speech in its trade deals?
As trade negotiators seek to wrap up the Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA), the EU seems to have abandoned the objective of promoting human rights, notably freedom of speech.
Negotiators question EU commitment to services deal
Negotiators working to increase market access for services are beginning to question whether the European Union is capable of forging a multi-trillion dollar services agreement.
TISA proposes new global rules on data flows and safe harbors
The Trade in Services Agreement contains many provisions that are a virtual copy-and-paste out of the TPP’s Electronic Commerce chapter.
Hazards ahead for TiSA talks
The odds of the Trade in Services Agreement wrapping up by year’s end have grown longer after a mini ministerial meeting revealed a number of issues remain far from resolved
Civil society urges EU leaders to protect citizens’ data in trade agreements
“EU leaders must protect individuals’ personal information and privacy. The best way to do this is by not including data flows in trade agreements.”
TiSA agreement leaks show corporations pushing privatization of public services
The latest leaks of teh Trade in Services Agreement show prohibitions on requiring foreign companies to employ local workers, says Deborah James

    Links


  • ADETRA
    Nouvelles sur le TiSA et le TTIP, sur le site de l’Association de Défense des Travailleuses et Travailleurs
  • TiSA uncovered
    A coalition of concerned groups have created this site to give people across the world a chance to see what their governments are signing up to on their behalf and to create an international network of engaged activists and citizens. Maintained by Public Services International and Our World is Not For Sale. (EN, ES)
  • WikiLeaks on TiSA
    Leaks and analyses of the Trade in Services Agreement. Maintained by WikiLeaks.