WikiLeaks has published 17 secret documents related to a controversial trade agreement currently being negotiated behind closed doors between the US, EU and 23 WTO members. NGO Global Justice Now called the leak “a dark day for democracy.”
The documents released by the transparency group are allegedly associated with TiSA (Trade in Services Agreement) negotiations, which have been taking place in secret since early 2013. The participants of the talks include 24 WTO members, such as the US, EU and other countries including Turkey, Mexico, Australia, Pakistan and Israel.
According to WikiLeaks, the economies of the member countries now comprise two-thirds of global GDP. Their services “now account for nearly 80 percent of the US and EU economies,” the group says, adding that “even in developing countries like Pakistan [they] account for 53 percent of the economy.”
The European Commission web source says the participants in the agreement, which is set “to liberalize trade in services,” “account for 70 percent of world trade in services.” The “talks are based on proposals made by the participants,” the EU source adds, saying that “TiSA aims at opening up markets and improving rules” in a number of areas, including financial services, transport and e-commerce.
A number of the world’s economies, including all the BRICS countries – Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa – are excluded from the TiSA negotiations, which purport to benefit the global economy.
The release of the 17 leaked documents on Wednesday is “the largest on secret TISA documents” and sheds light on “numerous previously undisclosed areas.” It includes drafts and annexes on such issues as air traffic services, domestic regulation, telecommunications services and transparency, with documents dating from February 2013 to February 2015. The papers were to be kept secret until at least five years after the completion of the TiSA negotiations and the trade agreement’s entry into force.
Saying that the leaks “reinforce the concerns of campaigners about the threat that TiSA poses to vital public services,” Nick Dearden, director of Global Justice Now, said “there is no mandate for such a far-reaching program.”
“It’s a dark day for democracy when we are dependent on leaks like this for the general public to be informed of the radical restructuring of regulatory frameworks that our governments are proposing,” Dearden said in a statement on Wednesday.