Wikileaks exposes trade agreements as corporate-friendly government busters
If there’s one thing that Wikileaks has done very well over the years, it’s to hold governments accountable. The tables were turned with their most recent big leak as a 17-document dump on Thursday exposed the Trade and Serives Agreement as a way to lock liberalizations into global law, basically taking away the power of sovereign government to deny entry of foreign firms.
In essence, this will make international law the prominent deciding force when it comes to big business. Countries that sign would be doing so under the premise of expanding worldwide trade and tearing down business borders but would actually be removing their own powers to manage and monitor the financial infrastructure of foreign businesses within their own countries.
It’s confusing because on the surface it would seem like a positive move that promotes free trade but digging deeper reveals that it opens up too many loopholes through which large companies could basically hold entire countries hostage. It would be detrimental to those outside of the agreement, particularly financially-struggling countries and those who keep their business borders very tightly monitored like China. It would be marginally beneficial for countries that sign, but the gains would be shadowed by the loss of sovereign control.
Obamacare, for example, would have to be adjusted to fit in with a global medical market rather than a national one.
As the Independent points out:
Under the agreement, retailers like Zara or Marks & Spencers would have the right to open stores in any of the signing countries and be treated like domestic companies. A nationalised service, such as the British telecoms industry in the eighties, would have to ensure it was not harming competition under these terms.
Read more on the Independent.