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TISA threatens to lock in water privatization

Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow has Tweeted:

TISAShe’s referring to the Trade in Services Agreement (TISA) now being negotiated by Canada and a number of other countries. Public Services International has sounded the alarm about these negotiations in its new report, TISA Versus Public Services: The trade in services agreement and the corporate agenda.

Mitch Jones at Food and Water Watch explains, “Negotiations for TISA began in 2012 when a group of 20 World Trade Organization (WTO) members formed the ‘Really Good Friends of Services’ (no, I’m not making that up). These Really Good Friends decided to negotiate a new deal outside of the normal WTO framework.”

He highlights, “Under TISA, privatization of local water systems would be made easier, and fights against privatization would be made harder.”

The report says, “Remunicipalization is significant because it demonstrates that past decisions are not irreversible. Decisions about how best to deliver a public service vary according to circumstances. The ability to respond to new information, changing conditions or shifting public opinion is an essential freedom for democratic governments concerned with how best to serve the public interest. The TISA would limit and may even prohibit remunicipalization because it would prevent governments from creating or reestablishing public monopolies or similarly ‘uncompetitive’ forms of service delivery. …Of particular concern for remunicipalization projects are the proposed ‘standstill’ and ‘ratchet’ provisions in TISA. The standstill clause 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.”

Jones adds, “Oh, and it could use investor-state dispute resolution to allow foreign companies to sue our local governments if they don’t like our laws and regulations, just like the Trans Pacific Partnership and Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. It’s outrageous!”

Stay tuned.