TISA and the Privatization of Public Services

A new report reveals the extent to which local governments around the world have been taking services delivery back into the public sector. Water and waste water services, garbage collection, electricity delivery, health services, transit systems, and other services that were contracted-out, partially privatized through public-private partnerships (P3s) or privatized outright are now rapidly being brought back into public control across the globe because privatizations resulted in economic (or other) major problems.

The report, called Back In House: Why Local Governments Are Bringing Services Home, was recently released by the Centre for Civic Governance at the Columbia Institute in Vancouver, B.C. It focuses on the process called “remunicipalization,” so-called because the changes in ownership structure usually occur at the municipal level.

While the report is thorough and helpful, it is strangely reassuring about the impact of pending trade agreements on remunicipalization. Mentioning only NAFTA and one of the pending trade deals – the Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) – which have raised the concerns of local governments, the report states: “However, while it is important to be aware of these trade rules it is equally important to understand that most decisions made by municipalities will never be affected by these agreements.” [1]

On the contrary, as I reveal in my new book – Beyond Banksters: Resisting the New Feudalism [2] – the financial oligarchy is particularly focused on increasing privatization and is pushing the trade deals in order to make remunicipalization impossible. book-ad-cover

This is especially true of the little-known, secret deal called the Trade In Services Agreement (TISA), which the writers of Back In House might not know about. TISA is the back-up deal in case TPP (TransPacific Partnership), TTIP (TransAtlantic Trade and Investment Partnership) and CETA fail.

Team TISA

TISA involves 50 countries, including every advanced economy except the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India China, and South Africa). TISA is being negotiated in secret, with the unelected and unaccountable European Commission representing the 28 EU countries. Other countries negotiating TISA include Australia, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Hong Kong, Ideland, Israel, Japan, Liechtenstein, Mexico, New Zealand, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, South Korea, Switzerland, Taiwan, Turkey, and the United States.

Nick Dearden, director of UK-based Global Justice Now (GJN), calls TISA “a massive super-privatization deal covering everything from finance to education.” [3] TISA focuses on services, not goods, and allows multinational corporations to provide services across national borders by turning public services into commodities run for profit.

TISA specifically prevents remunicipalization, or any reversals of previous privatizations of public services. The Transnational Institute has noted, “TISA will make it impossible for governments to reverse privatization or decrease the influence of the private sector. Governments will only be able to choose to maintain privatized services as they are or to extend liberalization.” [4] Similarly, Public Services International warns that TISA “would lock in current levels of services liberalization in each country, effectively banning any moves from a market-based to a state-based provision of public services.” [5] As Ellen Brown has written, “TISA is a one-way street. Industries once privatized remain privatized.” [6] Negotiations on TISA are set to conclude in December 2016.

As I reveal in Beyond Banksters, TISA was dreamed up by the Global Services Coalition, whose “Team TISA” members include Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, MetLife, Prudential, Verizon, Wal-Mart, and other corporate titans intent on privatizing the world.[7] Unfortunately, municipalities will be affected by pending trade deals, especially TISA.

Footnotes/Links:

[1] Keith Reynolds, Gaetan, Royer and Charley Beresford, “Back In House: Why Local Governments Are Bringing Services Home,” Centre for Civic Governance, Columbia Institute, Vancouver, B.C., September 2016.

[2] http://watershedsentinel.ca/banksters

[3] “As TTIP Falters, Campaigners Warn Against Democracy-Wrecking Sister Deals,” Commondreams.org., August 31, 2016.

[4] Council of Canadians, “Barlow challenges TISA in Switzerland,” May 10, 2016.

[5] Ibid.

[6] Ellen Brown, “Awesome Power Is on the Verge of Being Handed Over to Private Banks if TPP Passes,” Economic Reform, November-December, 2015.

[7] http://www.teamtisa.org

Joyce Nelson’s sixth book, Beyond Banksters: Resisting the New Feudalism, can be ordered at: http://watershedsentinel.ca/banksters. She can be reached through www.joycenelson.ca.

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