State of play of TiSA negotiations

Last week the civil society dialogue on the Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA) took place, to update stakeholders about the developments of the eleventh round of negotiations.

So far seventeen chapters have been discussed. In July the countries which are negotiating the agreement will make a political stocktaking: they will extract from each chapter one or two issues that deserve particular attention. The Commission hopes that TiSA will be hooked to the World Trade Organisation one day.

The European Commission considers that a considerable effort to increase transparency has been made. Commissioner Cecilia Malmström, responsible for trade, asked the Latvian Presidency of the Council of the European Union to release the negotiating directive for TiSA – the decision is now up to the Council.

The Secretary-General of the European Confederation of Independent Trade Unions (CESI) asked if it would be possible to include in the agreement a general exception clause to protect Services of General Interest. The Commission responded that TiSA contains broad reservations for many public services in the chapter on market access, as well as the public utility reservation (which means that states can keep monopolies in what they consider public services, except for telecoms and IT services). The Commission also pointed out that they need to have an approach which is consistent with the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), and they need to work on the legal language.

The discussions clearly testify that public services are still not fully excluded. Social Platform will continue to monitor negotiations.