On Monday night, September 26th, while Trump and Clinton sparred over the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the European Union released a small, but crucial document related to a new, multinational deal that will change the global economy and American immigration laws forever.
It is called the Trade in Services Agreement, or TiSA.
Although rumors of TiSA have been in the news for months, it has remained entirely secret. The Daily Kos, an online Marxist new site with which I almost never agree, described the negotiations related to TiSA as “…more secret than WTO, TPP, etc…” Thus, the EU’s release on Monday of its TiSA document was interesting. It stated, “The Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA) is a plurilateral agreement currently negotiated among 23 WTO members (including the United States).”
In other words, the EU acknowledges that TiSA is in effect – albeit with some provisions still under negotiations.
In essence, this a global deal that will allow and even require corporations to do four things:
- They can move their service activities to countries of lower cost. While this seems innocuous, this goes well beyond the outsourcing of telephone call centers. This threatens to move previously considered safe, white-collar jobs to low cost venues like China and India, forever.
- Information collected by online platforms will need to be shared with TiSA member Governments. This includes Facebook, Google, and even online services that aggregate job applications.
- Corporations can now import low cost service providers into the United States and other TiSA signatories at will. They no longer have to suffer through the “tedious” visa process, because it becomes streamlined between all TiSA countries.
- Imported workers, regardless of how long they may be imported, can enjoy all of the benefits of the citizenry – to include full voting rights. [To their credit, the Japanese are fighting this provision].
In a document that was procured by WikiLeaks, the Obama Administration, in 2015, asked for a provision within the bill that would allow the free movement of persons across borders to work on behalf of corporations.
“Each Party shall ensure that all measures affecting entry and temporary stay of natural persons for the purpose of supplying services are administered in a reasonable, objective and impartial manner.”
The countries included in this provision for which the Obama Administration is pushing for open and transnational work access into the United States are Mexico, Turkey, Peru, and Pakistan – among others.
Yes, you read that correctly. TiSA enables the Obama Administration and future Democrat Administrations to import Mexican and/or Pakistani “service providers” just in-time to vote in American elections.
But it gets worse…
The TiSA is written in a way that enables the Obama Administration, and a possible future Clinton Administration, to bypass Congressional approval and implement the rules. Why and how? As noted in The Washington Times during the Iran deal, Obama need not change the laws to implement the deal. Rather, he can simply choose how to enforce existing rules. Thus, since visa approvals remain in the power of the Executive through the Department of State, he can simply open the books on visas in compliance with TiSA.
Assuming these low cost, service entrants choose not to stay in the United States, they add the double threat of sucking the economic lifeblood out of the USA. Once trained and certified in compliance with American laws in the US, the foreign worker can either go back to his/her lower cost environment and work on behalf of his/her corporate sponsor from overseas.
Soon, US corporations will be able to outsource their legal requirements, such as contract reviews, to countries that pay a lot less to their attorneys. Whereas few may have sympathy for lawyers, other jobs are more troublesome. On the table includes jobs such as Freight Forwarding and Customs Brokerage… Certified Public Accounting… tax accounting… banking… and a multitude of other jobs that have heretofore been prohibited from being carried out in foreign markets.
How does this work?
Currently, US and EU regulations prohibit certain types of service professions to leave the confines of the United States. Examples include legal services, which must be performed by a BAR certified attorney, or quality control inspections, which are used to ensure the safety and integrity of our consumer goods. In the United States, Licensed Customs Brokers need to be present at the port within which they are actively clearing cargo on behalf of their importers.
That will no longer be the case – and it gets worse…
Quoting the Huffington Post’s original analysis on TiSA:
“The Professional Services annex would restrict how governments and professional associations regulate market access, cross border supply, local presence requirements, foreign capital limitations, and licensing requirements for foreign services providers in specified professional fields including accounting, taxation, architectural services, engineering, urban planning and landscape architecture, technical testing and analysis, and also potentially legal services, engineering-related scientific and consulting services, veterinary services, private education services, and construction-related engineering services.”
In other words, NOTHING will remain safe for American workers.
TiSA currently includes fifty-two countries, including all of the nations in the EU and twenty-three members of the World Trade Organization (WTO). It excludes China. However, China seems to have found a backdoor to the negotiations, through semi-autonomous Hong Kong. As such, recent trade negotiations on TiSA have now brought China closer to the table.
In fact, to succeed, it appears TiSA will require the People’s Republic of China.
At the Obama Administration’s request, and with Australian, Canadian and Mexican support, Obama’s Trade Representative asked that ten economic zones be created to help harmonize trade rules based on development. Ostensibly, this is to protect poorer countries from being exploited by more advanced, wealthier nations within TiSA. For example, under consideration would be NAFTA, the EU, and Oceania (Australia, New Zealand) as one bloc of similarly developed tiers within which visas would be almost immediately removed. China, Southeast Asia, and Northeast Asia (Japan & South Korea) would act as another bloc. COMESA (East Africa), ECOWAS (West Africa), South America, and the Organization for Islamic Countries would act as a different transnational bloc… etc.
As each group develops, they become harmonized with the others, ultimately eliminating visas altogether in a pan-TiSA, harmonized regulatory format. The establishment of ten distinct economic zones was initially a compromise among states. To succeed, however, it depends on China’s ascension.
In sum, TiSA will not only allow more foreign workers to come to the United States, practically at-will, it will also allow them to vote and, if they deem fit to do so, leave with the jobs that Americans have been told to train within.
The question now is the following: how do the Presidential candidates feel about it?
Hillary Clinton has said nothing about TiSA, but her advisors seem to support it.
Meanwhile, given Trump’s animosity toward such agreements, it is unlikely he supports TiSA – but we don’t know.
To my knowledge, neither has been asked about TiSA… yet.