On Wednesday 10 September, the Netherlands’ parliamentary committee on foreign trade, development and cooperation held a meeting with the relevant minister. The focus of the discussion was the secret TTIP (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership) negotiations. But even less is known about the impact of the TiSA (Trade in Services Agreement.)

In addition to the TTIP, the EU and 22 WTO members have been negotiating a TiSA (Trade in Services Agreement) since 2013. The TiSA seeks a thorough liberalisation of trade and investments across almost all service sectors. SOMO drafted for the occasion of this parliamentary meeting a short informative note about the TiSA (Dutch only, see below), and proposed a series of questions to the minister.

Many of the points discussed are likely to be integrated in a future TTIP treaty, and the tenor of the negotiations became clearer when Wikileaks posted some of the drafts last June. The TiSA will, for instance, be an obstacle to a strict reform of the financial sector, and it will hinder measures that could prevent financial crises.

The draft treaty demands for instance free flow of foreign services, as well as the freedom of establishment for foreign service providers whose subsidiaries should be treated not less equal than local businesses. Most importantly, the TiSA includes all sorts of stipulations that can overrule both future and existing regulations and introduces new mechanisms to ensure that ‘stakeholders’ who see regulations as a hindrance to free trade are being heard. This amounts to an attack on parliaments’ regulatory freedom.

In essence, implementing this treaty will mean that policy regarding public and private service provision will not primarily be serving the public interest, but instead the interest of the multinational corporate ‘stakeholders’.

Download below Myriam Vander Stichele’s (senior researcher at SOMO) note to the Dutch Parliament. It includes background information and questions to the minister (Dutch only).

SOMO note TiSA - TTIP (1519 downloads)