TiSA: The Transatlantic Corporatocracy’s Last Straw

Trump’s silence on TiSA is deafening.

By Don Quijones, Spain & Mexico, editor at WOLF STREET.

The year 2016 has not been a good one for the international corporatocracy. Its beloved Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is dead and almost buried. The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) is probably also mortally wounded. Meanwhile, the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), a Trojan-horse deal between Canada and the EU that could enable as many as 47,000 US corporations to launch lawsuits against European governments that threaten their profit-making capacity, has been signed but still faces big hurdles before being passed into law.

But the battle is far from over. Transatlantic corporations and their armies of trade representatives, lobbyists, think tanks and corporate lawyers have not certainly given up. They still have at least one card up their sleeve. Its name is the Trade in Services Act, or TiSA, and it is the most covert and, according to Wikileaks, “most important of the United States’ strategic ‘trade’ treaty triumvirate,” which also includes the resting-in-peace TPP and the semi-defunct TTIP.

With services accounting for around 75% of the EU economy, 80% of the US economy and the lion’s share of many of the world’s other economies, according to World Bank figures, it’s not hard to see why TiSA is so important.

The agreement involves more countries than TTIP and TPP combined: The United States, all 28 members of the European Union, plus 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 50 nations form the charmingly named “Really Good Friends of Services” group, which represents almost 70% of all trade in services worldwide.

Like its sister trade deals, TiSA was supposed to have been signed, sealed and delivered by the end of this year. However, disagreements between the US and the EU over the free movement of data have momentarily stalled negotiations. There’s also the wildcard of a Trump government to consider.

“I doubt very much that the Trump administration has thought very much at all about TiSA,” a US trade official told Politico. “When they do think about it, they may look at it as being a different kind of trade agreement, because it’s not dealing with industrial goods. They may see the broad support for it among US stakeholders. They may see the support for it in Congress and see it’s interesting.”

Sounds a lot like wishful thinking, you say. But does it?

After riding a wave of anti-TPP sentiment to the doors of the White House, Trump’s silence on TISA is deafening. In a meeting last week with the CEOs of 13 US tech giants (including Apple, Microsoft, IBM, Cisco, Oracle, and Google), almost all of whom (with the notable exception of PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel) fiercely opposed his election, Trump promised that his administration will make it “a lot easier” for their companies to “trade across borders.”

For giant tech companies, open borders invariably means open digital borders. For the moment, the EU’s trade negotiators are opposed to such an idea, on grounds of data privacy and security — perfectly justifiable given Edward Snowden’s revelations of the scale and scope of US and UK digital surveillance of Europe. But that resistance is likely to crack sooner or later, especially with big data-processing firms threatening to relocate to outside the bloc and industry associations warning that Europe’s foot-dragging could deal a hefty blow to all the other trade deals the EU is negotiating.

Once Brussels caves, the biggest impediment to a consummated TiSA will have been removed. The agreement’s negotiators would have a green light to ban any and all restrictions on cross-border information flows and localization requirements for ICT service providers. As we warned in LEAKED: Secret Negotiations to Let Big Brother Go Global, if TiSA is signed, personal data will be freely bought and sold on the open market place; companies and governments will be able to store it for as long as they desire and use it for just about any purpose.

But that’s not TiSA’s only goal. Thanks to whistle blowing sites like WikiLeaks, the Associated Whistleblowing Press and Filtrala, we now know that this hyper-secret trade agreement, whose contents were supposed to remain concealed from public view for at least five years after being signed, would also “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. It also seeks to promote “offshoring” of health care services, resulting in rising costs for public health care systems.

In addition, TiSA would restrict signatory governments’ right to regulate stronger standards in the public’s interest, including in the financial services industry, precisely at a time when the global economy is still struggling to recover from a crisis caused largely by financial deregulation. The proposed rules would forbid governments from banning toxic financial products, setting limits on the size of banks, or even entertaining the possibility of breaking up “too big to fail” systemically risky financial institutions.

TiSA would also make it much easier for companies to outsource or offshore jobs across all services industries. The services classification list [DOC] being used in the trade agreement includes 120 subsectors, many of which are professional categories that have heretofore been protected from past trade deals. According to Deborah James of the Washington DC-based Center for Economic and Policy Research, the threat posed by TiSA is particularly daunting given the inexorable shift in employment patterns from high-paying manufacturing jobs to low-wage services jobs, and the potential offshorability of millions more services jobs:

Not only would TiSA promote offshoring of jobs, but it would also greatly expand domestic “inshoring.” Foreign contractors (say from Japan) would be able to bring in workers (say from the Philippines) to conduct work inside a consumer country (say the United States) on terms and conditions well below minimum local pay and local standards. The workers would not even have to be from a TiSA country.

There are plenty of other reasons to fear TiSA. Perhaps worst of all, it would establish a new global enclosure system, one that seeks to impose on all 50 signatory governments a rigid framework of international corporate law designed to exclusively protect the interests of corporations, relieving them of all financial risk, and social and environmental responsibility, while awarding them maximum rights regarding the treatment of labor, capital, inputs, and data. By Don Quijones, Raging Bull-Shit.

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  46 comments for “TiSA: The Transatlantic Corporatocracy’s Last Straw

  1. Bruce Adlam says:

    communism and globalization doesn’t work because its idealistic, all people and all countries are the equal, they are not. capitalism while not perfect does work until its hijacked by the rich and powerful. Democracy has let us down.In my mind the repeal of the glass steagall act in 1999 by bill clinton was a Hugh mistake and we are paying a high price.

    • d says:

      “Democracy has let us down.”

      Electorates frequently elect the governments they deserve.

      Hopefully this one will hurt America then it might do something about the stupid system that it has allowed the Globalised Vampire Corporates to own and control.

      “In my mind the repeal of the glass steagall act in 1999 by bill clinton was a Hugh mistake and we are paying a high price.”

      Somehow I don’t really think he realized, what a disaster, that particular piece of republican legislation he signed, was going to cause.

      • Quote : Somehow I don’t really think he realized, what a disaster, that particular piece of republican legislation he signed, was going to cause.

        You are being too kind, Mr. d. Glass-Steagall was passed in response to the “disaster” that was caused by banking malpractice in the prior decade.


        The separation of commercial and investment banking helped stabilize the banking system, and make commercial banking safe for depositors and borrowers.

        We cannot prove what disasters the act prevented ( going forward ) but we can see what happened before the act. ( And we clearly see what happened after it was repealed. )

        Washington’s capture by the elite moneyed interests has been well-documented. A little intellectual effort, when considering the bill, would have revealed the inevitable conclusion of the repeal.


      • evil kneevers says:

        I have not voted in a fairly counted election in my adult life. thats almost 4 decades of bullshit elections. when the USA has verified elections through random paper recounts, then the other issues can actually be worked on.

  2. Edward E says:

    The Donald is all over the swamps, but I recall a prediction of his that the EU would break. That he supports the EEU, calling for full cooperation and friendly ties with Russia and the end of sanctions. But who knows, he’s like a waterbug airboat without a rudder. Going this way one minute and totally opposite the next.

    • d says:

      Once he is inaugurated he will revert to form, and only go the way that lines his pockets, as he will no longer need the fools votes.

      • Edward E says:


        I think I’ve figured out what’s really on their minds when they’re talking about swamp drainage. They want to drain the world largest swamp, the Vasyugan Swamp in Russia, for oil & gas.

        • d says:

          He is goning to drain the swap, by filling it full of his crony alligators and snakes.

          There will be that many of them, they will force out all the liquid ooze.

        • Edward E says:

          D, all of my life I’ve watched in horror these neofolks inching us back towards a Neo-Guilded Age. Pretty sure you’re aware of this also. I’ve got to change my voter registration to independent somehow, haven’t voted R since ’88 but noticed they have me down as one. Ron and Rand Paul were the only Republicans worth any efforts and I’ve been through with voting against our own interests since ’92.


          … For the past forty years the GOP right and reactionary rich, abetted by neoliberal Democrats, have laid siege to the promise of the Four Freedoms and the legacy of FDR and those we have rightly come to call the Greatest Generation. And in the wake of November, they seem poised to renew their campaigns.

          Just last week, former Republican Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, a fervent ally of Donald Trump, took to the stage at the Heritage Foundation to rally the right’s forces around the President-elect in favor of launching a final assault on what remains of the New Deal and Great Society…

          …Gingrich began by announcing that Trump’s impending presidency represents “the third great effort to break out of the Franklin Delano Roosevelt model.” The first, Gingrich stated, was Ronald Reagan’s 1980 election victory and ensuing two-term presidency (aka “the Reagan Revolution”) and the second, Gingrich proudly recalled, was the 1994 Republican takeover of Congress (the so-called Gingrich Revolution that briefly shut down the Federal government).

          Gingrich then really took off. And his smarminess knew no bounds…

        • d says:

          “all of my life I’ve watched in horror these neofolks inching us back towards a Neo-Guilded Age. ”

          It’s not just people any more, its not even the old BEI ,BSA, DEI.

          It’s now a group of Globalised Vampire Corporate’s. Currently allied with china, the majority of which are American based for everything, except tax purposes.

          Some of these Entity’s, have advertising budget’s, larger the the GDP of some nation’s.

          At least the old British and Dutch Trading Companies, had national loyalty.

          These new entity’s, have loyalty, only to their profits.

          Ultimate power corrupts ultimately.

          The Illuminati, The mason’s, the Jew’s, running the world, are all fairy stories.

          These entity’s are not, and they are a very large, and getting larger, problem.

          They dont need to meet and set a secret agenda, as they all naturally want the same things.

          0 labour costs, and zero global, environmental, labour, and trade regulation’s, so they can exploit the weakest labour source and milk the richest consumer bases.

          Trickle down Economics, from Laissez-Fair capitalism does not work. Any better, than Communism/Socialism.

          p45 is a Laissez-Fair capitalist.

          This is a big problem, as these entitys are going to have a lovely 4 -8 years under his administration.

          Not so, Labour or the little mainstreet guys.

        • Edward E says:

          Yeah, you are very wise to the ways of the world, folks learn a lot from you. You and your family have a fine Christmas! Happy holidays to the Wolf Richter family and fans!

          See Petunia has returned, the Fouke monster didn’t get her, thank goodness. All I get for Christmas is a load of gravel, finally!, hard to get way out here. Better get out there and start spreading. Go back to the pumpkin patch after Christmas. So I go out there spreading gravel in the barn and carport yesterday and Comet, the 7 point buck comes out there so close I could have bounced a grave off his back.

          Hang in there, ttyl!

  3. TTP and TTIP are not dead, only resting.

    Given a ‘decent interval’ they will be resuscitated and quickly sped through Congress in the middle of the night and signed by Trump … maybe by the end of February … ?

    Positive: rule by non-planetary corporations so the chance of a major, bankrupting war will recede.

    Negative: without the means to defend local interests from corporate tyranny there will be a crash as the status quo is abandoned.

    Tycoons miss an essential: capitalism sells ‘fun’ not coercion … when you are forced to ‘get rich’ at gunpoint the game is over.

    • d says:

      “Negative: without the means to defend local interests from corporate tyranny there will be a crash as the status quo is abandoned. ”

      Then you best read TPP and force trump to sign it.

      Not only does TPP have rules for nation’s, it also has them for corporate’s.

      TPP in fact restricts, nations and corporate’s, and protects American job’s.

      The Globalised Vampire Corporates allied with china, are still stripping America of jobs.

      The question is will TPP enhance, or reduce, their ability to continue doing that.

      The Uninformed will tell you incorrectly the former, when the truth is the latter.

      Bernie Sanders, just like P45, simply told the gullible US Electorate, what it wanted to hear ,

      Truth was completely irrelevant in the 2016 US elections.

      Clinton was the most truthful candidate, and her concept of “Truth “, is wide enough to encompass most fairy tales.

      She is a non starter, in the Pants on fire ratings, compared to the other two who pushed the scale to the extent it needed lengthening.

  4. Debravity says:

    Don, you are a bastion. Thanks so much for your information. You deserve a raise. I send so many people to your site and WS. Keep it up. Btw, heading to Spain in late Jan. Will you be home for a cocktail?

    • Don Quijones says:

      Thanks Debravity. If you pay Barcelona a visit send me word through RGBS and if I’m in town we can hook up for a cocktail or two.

  5. EggBloff says:

    I C said the blind man.

  6. Jas says:

    One of my favorite philosophers and a keen cultural critic, Slavoj Zizek had this to say about Tisa accord;
    “This, then, is where we stand with regard to democracy, and the Tisa agreement is a perfect example. The key decisions concerning our economy are negotiated and enforced in secret, and set the coordinates for the unencumbered rule of capital. In this way, the space for decision-making by the democratically elected politicians is severely limited, and the political process deals predominantly with issues towards which capital is indifferent (like culture wars).”
    Excellent article; https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/jul/13/capital-politics-wikileaks-democracy-market-freedom

  7. Kent says:

    TISA: the Libertarians wet dream.

    • Dan Romig says:

      Kent, that may be true for some Libertarians, but not all of us aligned with the Libertarian party share this opinion.

      These secret trade deals that encompass a huge block of nations into an agreement are nothing more than an abdication of sovereignty, and they reflect the ethos of the WTO and ‘The New World Order’.

      I, as a Libertarian supporter, believe that the only trade agreements that the USA should enter into should be between the USA and one other nation. If we want a deal with Mexico, what the hell does Canada have to do with this arrangement for example?

      A good example of this principle can be seen in the summer of 2008. The world’s largest copper mine near Santiago Chile was on strike, and the negotiations were at an impasse. Now the stage was set for China to enter into a deal with Chile. This deal sweetened the pot; the copper miners got better working conditions and ended their strike, China got tariff free copper from across the Pacific and Chile got a trade deal to import Chinese products. The person who was the architect of the deal was none other than Henry Kissinger.

      Shortly thereafter at the Opening Ceremony of the 2008 Summer Olympic Games (on 08/08/2008) three people sat beside each other as the flame was lit: George W Bush, Hu Jintao and Henry Kissinger.

      While I am of the belief the Kissinger is a war criminal and a vile human, he still commands power on the global stage.

      • Kent says:


        I try to avoid the “no true Scotsman” fallacy. I was a Libertarian long-ago in my youth. I just imagine the Peter Thiel/Paypal type Libertarian who wants government regulators out of the way and can play on a global scale, with minimal regulation, and the ability to exploit anyone and everyone to his personal benefit. I probably shared those beliefs when I was younger and less experienced in reality.

        • Dan Romig says:

          While watching some of the Libertarian presidential nominee debates, I was disappointed by many of the statements that were made. I understand your critique of the party, and these Libertarians that take an extreme view hurt the chances of the party ever becoming equal to the two-party duopoly that controls our local, state and national governments.

          We need a government to do some basic tasks, and we, as human beings, should provide a safety net for those who cannot take care of themselves. However IMHO, we should stop ‘the War on Drugs’, we should have a modified flat tax, we should quit being the Imperial hegemonic state that is always at war with other nations; wars that are based on lies and based on controlling resources.

          The Democrats and Republicans have no problem selling US made cluster bombs to Saudi Arabia so they can be dropped on Yemen’s children. Perhaps other Libertarians would also have no problem with this, but I sure as hell do. Ok, time to get off my soapbox …

        • Kent says:

          You and I agree on a lot. I’ve changed from Libertarian to more “anti-federal, pro-local” government. (full disclosure, I’m a local government employee). Unfortunately, I can’t really find a party for that. Oh, and I’m opposed to any tax on income or sales. I prefer taxes on assets only.

        • d says:

          “Oh, and I’m opposed to any tax on income or sales. I prefer taxes on assets only.”

          You just want a free ride.

          Then, refrigerators, cars, radios, etc, will become annually taxable assets, and the rates will be very high, as it is very expensive to administer.

          Minimal municipal taxes, no inheritance taxes. National sales tax. 1 tax rate, no income tax below a certain threshold.

          everybody Must make a return every year, and pay a filing fee. No personal deductions.

          To much tax evaporates in administration costs, so make it simpler, and so cheaper, to administer.

  8. nhz says:

    There never was a piece of fascist regulation that the bureaucrats and politicians in Brussels didn’t like; there can be no doubt they love pacts like TiSA and TTIP, they are just struggling with how to sell it to the public especially these days with elections coming in several important EU countries (and the European Commission said they are still working on getting TTIP passed, isn’t it?)

    They would also love the idea of censoring all of the internet through companies like Google/Facebook/Twitter/Reddit etc, if only they make a few tweaks to impose the EU flavor of political correctness. If they impose EU censorship rules, I’m sure the EU criminals will grant them billions in tax advantages. Great deal if you can get it.

    These pacts are the modern version of colonialism and slavery; interesting how the US with its relatively recent woes in that area (and its ‘exceptionalism’) is the number one who is pushing this. Almost as if the ethics of slavery and colonialism were never abandoned.

    • Paulo says:

      Any chance they could take away Trump’s Twitter account? If they would, I could support any deal.

      • Smingles says:

        Why would you want to do that? I hear it’s the most beautiful, bigly twitter account in all of the twittersphere.

      • nhz says:

        I don’t think Twitter needs any encouragement from the EU to take away Trump’s account. They just may be a bit fearful for the consequences, and they should be.

        The PC censorship by US internet giants is ridiculous, and I don’t think this would do anything good either. If you think Trump says stupid or otherwise wrong things, let him continue talking and let the world judge. Censorship never works and IMHO it shows a wrong attitude (especially with all the extremely hateful and violent stuff that is spread on a daily basis, and that nobody in the US media worries about).

  9. Chhelo says:

    The new norm. Boeing sets up manufacturing operations in Morocco to lower prices. China, based on offset requirements with Boeing, is bringing in the labor from China to do the work.

    With T agreements in place maybe Boeing can just bring the Chinese workers to the US at minimum wage.

    The goal is a world wide universal minimum wage. This requires developed economies to halt increases in wages until the undeveloped economies catch up. Until this happens not only manufacturing but service must be off shored.

    Resistance is futile. You will be assimilated into the hive.

  10. Meme Imfurst says:

    Corporations are not OUR FRIENDS. How Many times and ways must people be hit by a corporate brick before even Politians can see that big corporations are a danger to everyone. Remember that when you look at your 401k next month, you likely are making it happen.

    We have gone from more than 50 media companies to basically 6 in 20 years. Do you feel better informed?

    When Google, Facebook, Amazon sell you data without your permission, is that just peachy fine with you? When they steer your eyes to what they want you to see (with a Chinese computer program) or NOT see, is that ok that they have stolen your choices with the delicate hand of a pickpocket?

    Do you mind that the Chinese PROC Corporation are buying up Hollywood and will have a direct affect on what you see and hear? How about farm land and food producers being bought.

    If there is one chance that the incoming administration will stop the wholesale disposal of American assets into the hands of big corporations and governments posing as corporations, then I will pray for his good health and long life.

  11. RD Blakeslee says:

    There’s not much hope expressed in the commentary above that Trump can (or will) reign in the power of the corporatocracy.

    We’ll see.

    • Smingles says:

      Given that his Treasury Secretary is a Goldman guy, his chief economic adviser is a Goldman guy, and his senior counselor is a Goldman guy, why would anyone still believe anything he said on the campaign trail about “draining the swamp?”

      He will have the more corporatist administration in modern history.

      • Mike G says:

        This. Trump’s administration will be a free-for-all of corporatist cronyism and corruption.

        • Chicken says:

          Not unlike the past three administrations. Well, I’d say there’s a better chance change actually happens this time around.

  12. Agent76 says:

    June 13, 2016 Which Corporations Control The World?

    A surprisingly small number of corporations control massive global market shares. How many of the brands below do you use?


    May 19, 2016 The Next Globalist Corporate Takeover Explained In 2min

    In this video we have a surprize guest post from “Understanding More” a spoken word artists who under 2 min explains the globalist corporate takeover that is the TPP. With the trade deal being shrouded in mystery benefiting primarily the elite, it’s only the alternative media that has been keeping the public aware of the crave changes that will be enacted from the TPP.


  13. Agent76 says:

    DECEMBER 20, 2016 Trump Picks Dow Chemical CEO To Head Manufacturing Council

    Will Trump keep his promises to American farmers? The concern is that once Dow and DuPont merge, farmers will be faced with higher pesticide and herbicide prices, and the companies would have less incentive to compete to produce “better” and cheaper products.


    • Chicken says:

      Perhaps fewer pesticides would help improve the environment, inclusive of water quality. Farmers are pegged as the main cause of nitrogen contamination of rivers and streams, including the Chesapeake bay.

      Kind of amazes me every heavy storm that passes through the public sewage treatment plants are purged into the river due to storm runoff yet farm effluent is the main concern. Hypocrisy, is my suspicion.

      • nhz says:

        Agree, farmers are not victims here – the general public and the rest of nature is (and many farmers in third world countries). Antibiotics, growth hormones, GMO and associated evils like glyphosate, same story. Of course the public is partly complicit by buying the cheapest meat and agri products.

        As with other Trump picks it is interesting that he choses someone from Dow while he is openly against those trade pacts where companies like Dow and Monsanto are among the main beneficiaries (if I remember correctly, the TTIP pact was mostly written by lobbyists from Monsanto and Dow).

        I know for fact that in my country farmers are the main source of nitrogen pollution, even though runoff has declined significantly in recent years. The US is relatively less populated so I guess that there farm effluent is even more of a factor. Sewage plants don’t purge into the rivers on a continuous bases, farmland and many livestock farms do though …

  14. Chicken says:

    “hyper-secret trade agreement, whose contents were supposed to remain concealed from public view for at least five years after being signed”

    Gotta love this kind of treaty, what makes us believe it’s not already enacted, just the way Glass Stegal was ignored toward the end and Clinton’s signature made prosecution impossible?

    • nhz says:

      makes you wonder what other US treaties are in place that we are not allowed to know about for many years :-)

      I bet the NSA keeps a good record of those treaties and all signatories, and their internet traffic.

    • Edward E says:


      Trump and his pals aren’t signing treaties. They’re waging class war.

      • nhz says:

        don’t you think these trade treaties are class war? It is the NWO / 0.1% against the rest of the planet.

        • d says:


          Your back in the dark ages.

          NWO, world bank, UN, running the world, is all political.

          Its archaic history.

          The political groups dont have the financial clout that the Globalised Vampire Corporates do.

          Theses globalized Mercantile entity’s are huge and only starting to develop their power base.

          The shots the EU has taken against them, have all been about lining political coffers, and more importantly pockets, not restraining or attempting to control these Globalised Vampire Corporate entity’s.

          The politicians dont have the budget to confront them .

        • Edward E says:

          Yes… well, we’re almost there anyways. The NWO, 0.01% of population will RULE the planet.
          0.99% of population will OWN the planet.
          9.00% of the population will ADMINISTER the planet.
          90% of the population will be the CATTLE of the planet.

  15. upwising says:

    Estimador Señor,

    Espero que Ud. va a hacer disponible este mismo artículo en español para que l@s ciudadan@s de los paises incluidos sepan lo que está por venir.


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