When Opposing Fast Track, Don’t Forget TISA

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A incorrect impression is that Fast Track and the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) are one in the same.  They are not.

Fast Track is the set of terms or rules governing how Congress can discuss, debate and decide the TPP — the so-called “trade agreement” that will give transnational corporations the authority to overturn local, state and national democratically-enacted laws protecting workers, consumers and the environment.

Fast Track terms include limiting duration of debate, limiting the debate itself and preventing Congress from introducing any amendments. These terms not only apply, however, to the TPP, but to all so-called trade deals that come before Congress while Fast Track is in effect. This is likely to be several years. Lining up, like backed up airplanes at a busy airport, are other international agreements.

The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (or TTIP) agreement is one. It’s the European equivalent of the TPP in terms of addressing not just trade issues, but issues of worker, consumer and environmental laws and regulations that transnational corporations seek to gut.

Another agreement is one you may not have heard of. It’s called the Trade in Services Agreement, or TISA.

TISA a treaty between 24 parties, including the US and the European Union – or a total of 50 countries that make up 68% of the world’s trade in services. TISA aims to “liberalize” the trade in services – a sanitized word for abolishing. The specific services include banking, health care and transport – among others. Like the TPP, TISA has been negotiated in secret

Wikileaks last year released a classified draft of the financial services portion of the agreement. According to Wikileaks,

“The draft Financial Services Annex sets rules which would assist the expansion of financial multi-nationals – mainly headquartered in New York, London, Paris and Frankfurt – into other nations by preventing regulatory barriers…The leaked draft also shows that the US is particularly keen on boosting cross-border data flow, which would allow uninhibited exchange of personal and financial data.”

Additionally, the current draft also includes language inferring that, upon the finishing of negotiations, the document will be kept classified for five full years.

Despite the complete failure of sufficient financial regulations to prevent the 2007-2008 global financial collapse, TISA proposes even less financial regulation and would have the power to trump existing national financial regulations.  It would be an immense aid to the Too Big to Fail banking corporations, which is why the banking industry, the #1 sector that politically contributes/donates to federal elected officials, wants it. Public pension funds, for example, could be challenged as “monopolies.” Effort to regulate casino-like financial derivatives could be challenged a financial “barriers.” Basically ANY public proposal to limit in any way the private financial sector would be in violation of TISA.

Fast Track, which passed the Senate last Friday, is more than the TPP — which is bad enough. In some respects, specifically related to banking corporations, TISA may actually be worse. Yet Fast Track would permit all international agreements dealing with trade to be railroaded or steam rolled through Congress with little discussion and debate and no amendments.

TISA is another reason to oppose Fast Track. It’s another reason to call your Congressional Representatives.

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