The World Trade Organization (WTO) was founded in 1995 as part of the Uruguay Round Agreements of the General Agreement on Trade and Tariffs (GATT), the WTO has dramatically expanded and re-organized the power of global trade agreements. WTO agreements undermine the ability of local and national governments to regulate commerce and have eroded environmental, health, labor, and safety standards, often in the interest of expanding the markets and wealth of major corporations.
The General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) seeks to enhance the power of transnational corporations over governments (national, state and local) and to reduce the scope of governments to provide basic human services such as health, education and water. GATS is now part of the WTO. The existing GATS regime seeks to gradually phase out government ‘barriers’ to international trade and commercial competition in the services sector. Services include health, education, water, transportation, postal delivery, social security, and many others. Many G-7 trade ministers, acting in the interest of major corporations, are attempting to expand the mandate of the GATS even further.
The General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS):
May 31, 2005: 29 State Attorneys General to USTR Robert Portman regarding WTO GATS [91 KB]
May 31, 2005: Revised US offer services offer
Water in regional trade agreements:
Free Trade Area of the Americas in Miami: November 2003
World Trade Organization in Cancun: September 2003
In the news:
May 31, 2005: Revised U.S. Services Offer to the WTO
March 16, 2005: EU pressures developing countries for access to water services
March 3, 2005: Pressure for revised offers and the establishment of benchmarks in services negotiations