Under the pretext of circumventing the stalemated Doha Round of the WTO, Switzerland and 50 other mostly industrialized countries are negotiating a broad-based agreement known by its English acronym TISA (Trade in Services Agreement). The talks are secret, and only Switzerland and Norway have published their proposals via the internet.
The following sectors are under negotiation: financial services, telecommunications, internet trade, transport by water, land and air, professional services (lawyers, architects, doctors, etc.), and energy and postal services. In theory, this list could go on endlessly, in actual fact what is most likely to still be added are public procurements and State-owned enterprises.
In addition to these areas, which are of concern to all, each country must indicate those services that it wishes to open up to foreign competition. Or rather, those to be excluded from deregulation. Each service that is not expressly excluded may be deregulated sooner or later. This includes even those that do not yet exist! This is an aggressive mechanism as yet unprecedented in any multilateral negotiation. The TISA aims to embed deregulation in national legal systems such that – once introduced – there is no going back. In short, public services are in danger, as are in general all regulations in the public interest.
The countries are currently negotiating the deregulation of the internet, which would enable companies to share personal data without regard for the protection of privacy. Also on the current agenda are the liberalization of financial services, the relaxation of provisions on the protection of health, the environment and consumers.
Alliance Sud regards the TISA as extremely dangerous, both in Switzerland and for developing countries. Ideally, Switzerland should withdraw from the negotiations. Otherwise, they must be closely monitored by Parliament via a newly formulated negotiating mandate.