Here comes another secret ObamaTrade treaty with enormous ramifications for every American. Wikileaks has released 17 documents related to a mammoth trade agreement the Obama administration has been negotiating that will, purportedly, cover 80 percent of the U.S. economy. It’s called TISA, the acronym for Trade In Services Agreement. It’s a pretty sure bet that 99.99 percent of Americans have never heard of it. But if the U.S. House of Representatives votes to give President Obama Trade Promotion Authority (TPA, better known as “Fast Track”) — and this vote could happen soon — TISA could be rammed through Congress in expedited fashion, along with the hugely controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).
As with the TPP and TTIP, the TISA treaty negotiations have been ongoing for several years in total secrecy, despite the Obama administration’s absurd claims that the process is completely “transparent.” Members of Congress and the American public are excluded from the process and are not allowed access to the document texts, texts that will become binding upon United States citizens once they are rushed through Congress on the TPA fast track. U.S. courts, or tribunals created under TISA, or World Trade Organization (WTO) tribunals are virtually certain to use TISA — as they have already done using NAFTA — to rule that U.S. laws are illegal and must be changed.
The TISA treaty is being negotiated by the United States, the European Union, and 23 other nations, including Turkey, Mexico, Canada, Australia, Pakistan, Taiwan and Israel. Together, TISA “partners” comprise two-thirds of global GDP. The “services” covered reportedly account for nearly 80 percent of the U.S. economy and include issues such as banking, finance, insurance, health care, air traffic, maritime, professional services, professional standards and licensing, e-commerce, delivery services, transparency, domestic regulation, and much more.
Last year WikiLeaks released its first batch of TISA documents. As The New American noted in an article on the leaked texts last October, one of the most obviously objectionable portions of the texts is the outrageous assertion that the documents even be kept secret for 5 years after they go into effect! We reported:
The very first page of the draft text states: “Declassify on: Five years from entry into force of the TISA agreement or, if no agreement enters into force, five years from the close of the negotiations.”
Moreover, it states: “This document must be protected from unauthorized disclosure.... It must be stored in a locked or secured building, room, or container.” Members of the U.S. Congress are not allowed to see the secret text; it will be presented to them, finally, in a high-pressure, no-debate vote, following a massive lobbying effort by the usual crony corporatists from the financial, insurance, and information technology sectors.
Incredibly (but as should be expected), the participants in and promoters of the TISA insist that they are all for transparency, openness, and due process. The U.S. Trade Representative’s website on TISA declares: “TISA will support the development of strong, transparent, and effective regulatory policies, which are so important to enabling international commerce."
Now, more than half a year later, the Obama administration continues to claim that it is being totally open and transparent with its “trade agreement” negotiations, which, if true, would have rendered the WikiLeaks release unnecessary. The fact that the administration has not released the TISA texts and that it took an extraordinary effort by a private organization to get portions of them released, should serve as warning that TISA negotiations, like those for TPP and TTIP, are operating in the shadows and should be brought out into the sunshine. That won’t happen if the Republican leadership in the House and Senate cooperate with the Obama White House and Congress passes Fast Track to speed the ObamaTrade agenda into effect.