The historic decision is met by a wall of media silence.
By Don Quijones, Spain & Mexico, editor at WOLF STREET.
Often referred to as the Switzerland of South America, Uruguay is long accustomed to doing things its own way. It was the first nation in Latin America to establish a welfare state. It also has an unusually large middle class for the region and unlike its giant neighbors to the north and west, Brazil and Argentina, is largely free of serious income inequality.
Two years ago, during José Mujica’s presidency, Uruguay became the first nation to legalize marijuana in Latin America, a continent that is being ripped apart by drug trafficking and its associated violence and corruption of state institutions.
Now Uruguay has done something that no other semi-aligned nation on this planet has dared to do: it has rejected the advances of the global corporatocracy.
The Treaty That Must Not Be Named
Earlier this month Uruguay’s government decided to end its participation in the secret negotiations of the Trade in Services Agreement (TISA). After months of intense pressure led by unions and other grassroots movements that culminated in a national general strike on the issue – the first of its kind around the globe – the Uruguayan President Tabare Vazquez bowed to public opinion and left the US-led trade agreement.
Despite – or more likely because of – its symbolic importance, Uruguay’s historic decision has been met by a wall of silence. Beyond the country’s borders, mainstream media has refused to cover the story.
This is hardly a surprise given that the global public is not supposed to even know about TiSA’s existence, despite – or again because of – the fact that it’s arguably the most important of the new generation of global trade agreements. According to WikiLeaks, it “is the largest component of the United States’ strategic ‘trade’ treaty triumvirate,” which also includes the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the TransAtlantic Trade and Investment Pact (TTIP).
TiSA involves more countries than TTIP and TPP combined: The United States and all 28 members of the European Union, Australia, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Hong Kong, Iceland, Israel, Japan, Liechtenstein, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, South Korea, Switzerland, Taiwan and Turkey.
Together, these 52 nations form the charmingly named “Really Good Friends of Services” group, which represents almost 70% of all trade in services worldwide. Until its government’s recent u-turn Uruguay was supposed to be the 53rd Good Friend of Services.
TiSA has spent the last two years taking shape behind the hermetically sealed doors of highly secure locations around the world. According to the agreement’s provisional text, the document is supposed to remain confidential and concealed from public view for at least five years after being signed. Even the World Trade Organization has been sidelined from negotiations.
But thanks to whistle blowing sites like WikiLeaks, the Associated Whistleblowing Press and Filtrala, crucial details have seeped to the surface. Here’s a brief outline of what is known to date (for more specifics click here, here and here):
1.TiSA would “lock in” the privatization of services – even in cases where private service delivery has failed – meaning governments can never return water, energy, health, education or other services to public hands.
2.TiSA would restrict signatory governments’ right to regulate stronger standards in the public’s interest. For example, it will affect environmental regulations, licensing of health facilities and laboratories, waste disposal centres, power plants, school and university accreditation and broadcast licenses.
3.TiSA would limit the ability of governments to regulate the financial services industry, at a time when the global economy is still struggling to recover from a crisis caused primarily by financial deregulation. More specifically, if signed the trade agreement would:
- Restrict the ability of governments to place limits on the trading of derivative contracts — the largely unregulated weapons of mass financial destruction that helped trigger the 2007-08 Global Financial Crisis.
- Bar new financial regulations that do not conform to deregulatory rules. Signatory governments will essentially agree not to apply new financial policy measures which in any way contradict the agreement’s emphasis on deregulatory measures.
- Prohibit national governments from using capital controls to prevent or mitigate financial crises. The leaked texts prohibit restrictions on financial inflows – used to prevent rapid currency appreciation, asset bubbles and other macroeconomic problems – and financial outflows, used to prevent sudden capital flight in times of crisis.
- Require acceptance of financial products not yet invented. Despite the pivotal role that new, complex financial products played in the Financial Crisis, TISA would require governments to allow all new financial products and services, including ones not yet invented, to be sold within their territories.
4. TiSA would ban any restrictions on cross-border information flows and localization requirements for ICT service providers. A provision proposed by US negotiators would rule out any conditions for the transfer of personal data to third countries that are currently in place in EU data protection law. In other words, multinational corporations will have carte blanche to pry into just about every facet of the working and personal lives of the inhabitants of roughly a quarter of the world’s 200-or-so nations.
As I wrote in LEAKED: Secret Negotiations to Let Big Brother Go Global, if TiSA is signed in its current form – and we will not know exactly what that form is until at least five years down the line – our personal data will be freely bought and sold on the open market place without our knowledge; companies and governments will be able to store it for as long as they desire and use it for just about any purpose.
5) Finally, TiSA, together with its sister treaties TPP and TTIP, would establish a new global enclosure system, one that seeks to impose on all 52 signatory governments a rigid framework of international corporate law designed to exclusively protect the interests of corporations, relieving them of financial risk and social and environmental responsibility. In short, it would hammer the final nail in the already bedraggled coffin of national sovereignty.
A Dangerous Precedent
Given its small size (population: 3.4 million) and limited geopolitical or geo-economic clout, Uruguay’s withdrawal from TiSA is unlikely to upset the treaty’s advancement. The governments of the major trading nations will continue their talks behind closed doors and away from the prying eyes of the people they are supposed to represent. The U.S. Congress has already agreed to grant the Obama administration fast-track approval on trade agreements like TiSA while the European Commission can be expected to do whatever the corporatocracy demands.
However, as the technology writer Glyn Moody notes, Uruguay’s defection – like the people of Iceland’s refusal to assume all the debts of its rogue banks – possesses a tremendous symbolic importance:
It says that, yes, it is possible to withdraw from global negotiations, and that the apparently irreversible trade deal ratchet can actually be turned back. It sets an important precedent that other nations with growing doubts about TISA – or perhaps TPP – can look to and maybe even follow.
Naturally, the representatives of Uruguay’s largest corporations would agree to disagree. The government’s move was one of its biggest mistakes of recent years, according to Gabriel Oddone, an analyst with the financial consultancy firm CPA Ferrere. It was based on a “superficial discussion of the treaty’s implications.”
What Oddone conveniently fails to mention is that Uruguay is the only nation on the planet that has had any kind of public discussion, superficial or not, about TiSA and its potentially game-changing implications. Perhaps it’s time that changed. By Don Quijones, Raging Bull-Shit.
The timing could not have been worse. Read… Is Brazil About to Drag Down Spain’s Biggest Bank?
Enjoy reading WOLF STREET and want to support it? You can donate. I appreciate it immensely. Click on the beer and iced-tea mug to find out how:
Would you like to be notified via email when WOLF STREET publishes a new article? Sign up here.
These agreements, if passed, will lead the world to war. They are not sustainable and highly parasitic. The strong will feed on the weak until only the strong remain. Uruguay was smart to walk away.
the global noose is tightening all in the name of usury…kudos to uruguay for still having a conscience
Oh, i’m sure it’s not a bad as you say. The leaders of 25 countries surely all can’t have the same common agenda. You make it sound like the top 10% in each country have the same interests, world wide… (wait a second…)
you almost had me……i was waiting for the /sarc ending
Thanks for bringing the TISA to our attention. Here is a treaty that will pull out all the stops that might still be in the way of creating an international corporatocracy with the power to permanently crush what’s left of a worldwide middle class. Under this treaty, middle class citizens will be stripped of most powers and protections against the ruling corporate class.
“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,” WikiLeaks said in a statement. “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.
In Australia, journalists at The Age reported that experts say the proposed changes included within the WikiLeaks document “could undermine Australia’s capacity to independently respond to and weather any future global financial crisis.”
Dr. Patricia Ranald, a research associate at the University of Sydney and convener of the Australian Fair Trade and Investment Network, told the paper that the documents suggest the US wants to “tie the hands” of other governments, including allied ones, by way of sheer deregulation.
“Amendments from the US are seeking to end publicly provided services like public pension funds, which are referred to as ‘monopolies’ and to limit public regulation of all financial services,” she said. ”They want to freeze financial regulation at existing levels, which would mean that governments could not respond to new developments like another global financial crisis.”
US Trade Representative Michael Froman said the TISA deal was already well on its way to being put together.”
Michael Froman was Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin’s Chief of Staff, when Rubin got the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (repeal of Glass-Steagal) passed, and the Commodities Futures Modernization Act of 2000 (deregulation of derivatives trading) crafted. Froman was a major, self-serving architect of the US financial collapse. He left the Treasury Dept to join Robert Rubin at Citygroup, when Rubin left the Treasury, and the rest, as they say, is history. Except now we see that history is repeating itself, as Froman fights, once again, to do away with what few protections the middle classes still have against the corporate/international banking cartel.
It’s still looking like the Mr Global is winning. But the facts are that they are actually on the rout, due to the global slowdown in trade. Monsanto stock dropped 15%, and their products are being rejected. Catepillar just announced a 10K person layoff. As the world economy grinds down, the globalists will have their agreements, but the countries won’t comply, and they’ll lack power. Me, I’m looking forward to the change. The “global” economy has been terrible for many of us.
“confidential and concealed from public view”
things that have good intentions are honest and fair do not need any of the above.
You are quite right.
Honesty, truthfulness, public negotiations, stand up to the bright light of inspection by all who have a vested interest in the final form. When the time comes to implement said form, the signatories requirements have been met.
ANYTHING that has to be negotiated in secret and KEPT SECRET for five years after the fact, bodes nothing but ill will, for those who fall under the result. Dark forces operate in the dark and much prefer to stay in the dark. Beyond any light of knowledge and awareness or publicity.
And the simple fact the major media outlets in the United States are failing to report it because the people the hyper-wealthy are trying to hide it from are members of the majority, middle class. Or, news runs on profit in the United States and news outlets are pessimistic enough to think the average viewer is uninterested in global trade agreements. Either way is bleak.
So will the senate pass this because they can’t read what is in it?
“Pass it so we can find out what is in it”, in five years?
Sounds familiar, only worse.
“restrict right to regulate”
Publicly owned entities/services eg: libraries, sewerage, water, transportation etc.
Once “privatized” and sold off, would not be allowed to be “publicly owned” again.
Then once owned by the elitist controlled corporatocracy, ANY and ALL attempt by ANYONE or ANY authority, using ANY bonafide law ANYWHERE, to instill “fairness” would be deemed unlawful and against the corporate elite.
This is nothing more than in your face corporate fascism. This is what is meant by the “New World Order” George Orwell is rolling over in his grave.
This isn’t going to end well.
i think that a mayor reason Uruguay did not continue is that Brazil and Argentina are not part of it. Together about 250 million people living next door.
Ad to that chile abt 17.5 and bolivia 10.5 million.
Just looked it up. No one speaks English in Uruguay and I’m too burned out to learn another language. Damn. Back to Belize on the top of list, I guess.
I believe bigger trading blocks are the way, and the way of the future..
I believe 1 set of trading rules for the planet is the way of the future. It is the logical extension of Globalization as it was meant to be, not how it is, in its currently badly abused form (china being the greatest abuser of it).
These “Rules” being put together in the dark that are irreversible and favor American global corporate exploiters.
Are NOT, the way forward.
Not because they are being put together in secret, it is necessary to do that so that wag the dog groups do not get a head start.
But as they are being put together loaded in the favor of Exploiter Corporates who are mostly American in origin and now globalized tax avoiders.
The “Tax Havens” that are effectively owned by the Tax evading corporates, will not sign on to these deals until they have no choice. Simply as it is not in the interests of their tax evading owners, for them to do so.
it does not matter what Uruguay or any other country that we live in does or does not , our polititions do not have any power to make decisions that affect how we live most of them especially ours in the uk are to stupid anyway . the world we live in now is controlled by the banking cartels . if people do not start to take notice more of these people and forget about the idiot polititions who are put in place and paid by the bankers to represent them not us . their corruption and greed is why we have people living in poverty and the never ending wars they keep starting where our families and innocent people are being killed just to gain them more power and wealth .
You forgot the Illuminati.
If anybody is close to controlling the world agenda, it is china and the global corporates that bow to it. So hugely profit from it.
Blaming bankers, why dont you just stand up and say what you mean.
Unless we all go back to paying for everything physically in silver.
Bankers are like policemen and army’s a necessary evil. A banker is somebody you PAY to look after your money for you and pay carry out financial transactions for you.
Of course people dont want to pay, so lend their money to investment brokers/traders who also carry out financial transaction and offer(Cheap Free) Banking services. Then complain when the investment broker/trader goes bankrupt taking their money with them..
Can you say Operation Condor?
I don’t agree that it doesn’t matter what anyone does….it DOES matter and we can make changes. The cartel and Illuminati (backed by The Pilgrims, the real power group) can only have power if we let them have it. All we need to do is slowly stop buying from conglomerates, bit by bit return to simpler ways. It doesn’t mean the stone age. Stop using their products, stop using their banks. NM state is looking at a state bank, like North Dakota. That’s progress. I am cheering Uruguay on, since now the true conflict is coming out in Syria and Putin is not folding. The cartels are out-matched once everyone gets up and says no. They need a lot $ for their empires to exist. Even a small act helps.
So how do we stop lazy fools buying everything but major necessary purchase on credit.
How do we stop Lazy fools buying short lifespan low quality goods because they are supplied on easy credit.
Shortsighted lazy fools give them the power ,generally with money supplied by socialist handout policy’s.
Personally I have no Debt,I also have assets and money.
Keeping it that way, must be worked at.
The jackals will be coming for the leaders of Uruguay
Why is there no conglomerate of grassroots organizations that can pressure our corrupt politicians to stop TISA like how the people stopped the passage of SOPA/PIPA?
Thanks for sharing.