WikiLeaks has posted 17 documents about the Trade in Services Agreement (TISA), a giant, controversial global trade deal being negotiated among the U.S. and 23 other countries. TISA is a lesser-known relative of the Trans-Pacific Partnership—a deal that President Barack Obama has been actively campaigning for in Washington.
The 24 countries in the deal together comprise two-thirds of global GDP. “Services” now account for nearly 80 per cent of the US and EU economies and even in developing countries like Pakistan account for 53 per cent of the economy. While the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) has become well known in recent months in the United States, the TISA is the larger component of the strategic TPP-TISA-TTIP ‘T-treaty trinity’. All parts of the trinity notably exclude the ‘BRICS’ countries of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.
[June 3’s] release is the largest on secret TISA documents and covers numerous previously undisclosed areas. It contains drafts and annexes on issues such as air traffic, maritime, professional services, e-commerce, delivery services, transparency, domestic regulation, as well as several document on the positions of negotiating parties. WikiLeaks has also published detailed expert analysis of the topics covered in today’s release.
The document dump comes at a tense moment in the negotiations over a series of trade deals. President Barack Obama has clashed with his own party over the deals as critics have worried about the impact on jobs and civil liberties.
On Tuesday, WikiLeaks put a $100,000 bounty on documents relating to the alphabet soup of trade treaties currently being negotiated between the US and the rest of the world, particularly the controversial Trans-Pacific trade agreement (TPP). The offer, announced yesterday, has already raised more than $33,000.
Nick Dearden, director of the charity Global Justice Now, formerly the World Development Movement, said: “These leaks reinforce the concerns of campaigners about the threat that TISA poses to vital public services. There is no mandate for such a far-reaching program of liberalization in services. It’s a dark day for democracy when we are dependent on leaks like this for the general public to be informed of the radical restructuring of regulatory frameworks that our governments are proposing.”
Evan Greer, campaign director for Fight for the Future, said: “Internet users have become increasingly aware that seemingly obscure and complex policies that impact technology can have profound impacts on our most basic rights to communicate and express ourselves freely. Based on the latest leaks, it’s clear that Tisa is not only unacceptably secretive, it contains provisions that could threaten internet freedom, privacy, and even global net neutrality.”
The TPP has been particularly controversial because of the level of secrecy around it – trade agreements by their nature are negotiated behind closed doors, but restrictions on the TPP are such that elected representatives aren’t allowed to express any specific reservations about its content to their constituents. Moreover, advisers specifically included in the conversation to represent the public say they aren’t being allowed to read the entire document. “Today’s consultations are, in many ways, much more restrictive than those under past administrations,” veteran trade advisor Michael Wessel wrote in Politico last month.
The full archive of documents can be accessed here.
It’s been a big few weeks for leaked trade agreements. Just when we thought we had seen all the leaked text of the Trade in Services Agreement (TISA), Wikileaks went ahead and published some more yesterday. And on the same…