25 June 2019

WikiLeaks Releases Secret Draft of ‘Trade in Services Agreement’

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WikiLeaks' latest leaked document is the secret draft text for the Trade in Services Agreement (TISA) Financial Services Annex. 

TISA is a global trade agreement that covers 50 countries and 68.2% of world trade in services, according to WikiLeaks. 

The organization said in a press release that, "Despite the failures in financial regulation evident during the 2007-2008 Global Financial Crisis and calls for improvement of relevant regulatory structures, proponents of TISA aim for further deregulate global financial services markets."

Current World Trade Organization parties negotiating TISA include, the U.S., Japan, Australia, and the European Union's 28 member states.

A preliminary analysis of the leaked financial services chapter of TISA written for WikiLeaks by Jane Kelsey, a Law Professor at the University of Auckland in New Zealand, argues that the financial industry has captured global rule making.

Kelsey writes that, "TISA is designed for and in close consultation with the global finance industry, whose greed and recklessness has been blamed for successive crises and who continue to capture rule making in global institutions."

Kelsey also argues that the leaked draft shows governments signing on to TISA will be expected to extend current levels of financial deregulation, face pressure to authorize potentially toxic insurance products, and risk a legal challenge if they adopt measures to preventing or responding to another crisis.

Click here for the full article in Business Insider.

Related Opinions:  

David Cay Johnston, Aljazeera America 

“The draft agreement WikiLeaks released on June 19…is a model of secret law, blatant in its disregard for transparency, democratic process and history. Its opening page says the terms are to remain secret for five years after negotiations formally end or the proposed new rules take effect… 

…It is impossible to obey a law or know how it affects you when the law is secret. And that is what this agreement would be, a new rulebook for trade in services — principally banking, insurance and trusts… 

…If this is the first you have heard of this agreement, it is not surprising. Not one of the five big American newspapers — The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post and USA Today — wrote a word about the document. Ditto the major TV networks. 

Why the secrecy? Why shut down the marketplace of ideas?” 

Click here for the full column. 

William K. Black, New Economic Perspectives 

“…TISA is awful for honest bankers. Effective financial regulators are the essential ‘cops on the beat.’ Only [they] have shown the ability to break the ‘Gresham’s’ dynamic (bad ethics drives good ethics out of the markets and professions) that fraudulent CEOs create. When we break that dynamic we make it possible for honest bankers to prevail. TISA is good for only one group – dishonest bank executives… 

…That brings us back to the reason the bank CEOs have demanded that TISA be ‘classified’ and kept from the public and even Congress. Indeed, the plan is to classify its provisions for five years after TISA is adopted… 

…Ask yourself this question: why would the bankers and heads of state have demanded, and received, ‘classified’ treatment of a document that did not have any confidential information (there are no state secrets, no privacy issues, and nothing of proprietary value in the leaked TISA draft) [if it] made no meaningful restriction on regulation and supervision…? The demand for classified treatment makes it inescapable that the bankers and government officials involved in drafting TISA are trying to hide something they believe would outrage the public.” 

Click here for the full column.

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