[bestbits] TRADE impacts on Net Neutrality

Burcu Kilic bkilic at citizen.org
Fri Dec 19 14:16:14 EST 2014

Thank you Parminder.  I couldn’t have said it better myself.
Just saw this today, it might be of interest to you.

INDIA: Government may reverse opposition to trade in services agreement

Government is exploring the possibility of joining TISA or making a new proposal in services in the Doha round of talks

TISA is a trade pact currently being negotiated by 23 members of WTO, including the US.

New Delhi: I n order to further exploit its inherent advantages in the services sector, India is contemplating reversing its opposition to the plurilateral trade in services agreement (TISA) under the World Trade Organization (WTO), a commerce ministry official said.
India is exploring the possibility of joining TISA or making a fresh proposal in services in the Doha Round of WTO negotiations, the official said, requesting anonymity.

TISA is a trade agreement currently being negotiated by 23 members of WTO, including the US and the European Union. Together, these countries account for 70% of world trade in services.

Launched in April 2013, TISA aims at opening up markets and improving rules in areas such as licensing, financial services, telecoms, e-commerce, maritime transport, and professionals moving abroad temporarily to provide services.

“TISA give you an opportunity to access markets in areas where you have strength. Is it not good for us to really explore and see how the elements that have come into TISA on account of technology thresholds, and on account of broader commitments coming out of TISA being a much better agreement than General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS)? Is it not worthwhile for us to explore if TISA could be a good opportunity for us?” the commerce ministry official asked.

The official said services should also be an inherent part of the Make in India programme launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. “If we don’t address issues, which require regulatory reforms in many of these services areas, whether they are logistics, professional services, tourism, healthcare, India has a huge potential out there and we should take benefit out of these through reforms,” he added.

India should not make a negative connotation about TISA and should keep its option open to join it, said T.S. Vishwanath, principal adviser with APJ-SLG Law Offices. “We should not be left napping when such an important agreement is being negotiated. But if we want to join we should join it when negotiations are on so that we can secure our interests,” he said. “There is no point joining TISA after negotiations are over.”

Services contributed 57% to India’s economy in 2013-14. India’s annual export of services is pegged at $151.47 billion in 2013-14, while the export of merchandise stands at $312.5 billion during the same year.

To boost its services exports, which is currently dominated by information technology (IT) and IT-enabled services (ITeS), India has been organizing services conclaves for the past two years. The focus of these conclaves has been to explore new opportunities and identify the challenges in services exports, and create a road map for its sustained and accelerated growth so that the gap between merchandise and services exports narrow.

The official said the whole problem in services is that technology is moving so fast that laws and legislative reforms are not catching up. “There is no reason why technology improvements and legislative reforms can’t keep pace. But if we can boast of being IT industry leaders, then there is no reason why our regulatory processes and technology can’t keep pace. We should find ways of doing that,” he added.

The other option that India has is to present a fresh proposal to the WTO services-related negotiating bodies.
“We submitted a revised offer in 2005 and did a signalling in 2008, why can’t we do signalling now? So much of technology has come in, so much of legal reform has taken place, why can’t now at this stage we go to WTO and say that we are now prepared to offer another set of revised offers,” the official added.

He said this would help in two ways. “One that will hit at the basis of TISA and two, it will get all developing countries together. Because ultimately, to take example of Africa, it may not be a great market for services today, but 10 years down the lane it will be. So we can work towards building new architecture which has potential to evolve in next 10-15 years,” he added.

In services, India has not really gone the way a leading services providing country should have, the official said. “There is a reason for us to work towards seeking domestic regulatory reforms secondly, marry technology with evolution of laws and take a little bold steps to see how you can re-energize the multilateral trading system once again,” he added.

India has little option left but to join TISA as the normal Doha track seems not to be moving fast enough, said Biswajit Dhar, professor of economics in Jawaharlal Nehru University. “But unless we clearly mark out our offensive interests, it will be disastrous if we get into such negotiations and start playing defensive,” he said.

From: bestbits-request at lists.bestbits.net [mailto:bestbits-request at lists.bestbits.net] On Behalf Of parminder
Sent: Thursday, December 18, 2014 2:21 AM
To: bestbits at lists.bestbits.net; governance at lists.igcaucus.org
Subject: Re: [bestbits] TRADE impacts on Net Neutrality

This below is a very important development, and the analysis<https://data.awp.is/data/filtrala/15/analisis.cleaned.pdf> by Prof Kelsey and Dr Kilic is really really good.

The upshot in my view is; the global Internet would finally be governed, has to be governed, like any other important social system. The real question that we face, especially in the context of these new revelations, is; whether

(1) the Internet should be governed as a 'trade system', and among a few willing countries, which represent the most powerful countries plus those who are willing to partake of the fruits of cooptation, or

(2)  it should be governed as a unique new global infrastructure of communication, information, and social organizing (and thus of many a social system, including trade) in venues that are open to all countries of the world, more powerful or less, big or small.

(Included in the above is the question whether the key value flow on the Internet, data, is to be considered in a framework of its multiferous enmeshment with many sectors of our society, or just as a commodity for trade, with some minor 'exceptions' admitted here and there.)

One would think that for a civil society group the above is a simple choice to make. But unfortunately, most civil society actors in the IG space have focussed on narrow specific issues missing this larger framework, and thus missing the wood for the tree. Willy nilly, in my view, it amounts to complicity with option 1 above .

Kelsey and Kilc's analysis begins with a very pertinent listing of US' objectives. While all three listed objectives are instructive, I especially quote no 3

"prevent or restrict government regulation that impedes the activities and profits of the major global services industries, and guarantees unrestricted cross-border data flows, which impacts on consumer protections, privacy laws, regulatory constraints and competition policy."

How effective the US strategy has been on this count is obvious... It has kept the IG world embroiled in the multistakehoder versus multilateral debate as it goes ahead building the global architecture of IG and of the Internet through its secret agreements like the TISA. When the pressure becomes too much, like post Snowden, it throws a NTIA transition ball for kids to play with, which is both the not most important global IG issues, and even in its best possible outcome does not really change much. But quite good to divert people' thinking and energy for a year or two. And if one asks, but what about non-tech issues, it comes up with the WEF based NetMundial Initiative, and gets enthusiastic civil society backers - though anyone will ask the question, how the US push to prevent public interest governance of the Internet for the sake of protecting its big business interests (see the quote above) is addressed by new forums where those very big business interests will now direct participate in public policy development. But then...


On Wednesday 17 December 2014 09:17 PM, Carolina Rossini wrote:
press release from PC (our dear Burcu) and also a briefing distributed today by other groups going deeper on the issues

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Melinda St. Louis <mstlouis at citizen.org<mailto:mstlouis at citizen.org>>
Date: Wed, Dec 17, 2014 at 10:36 AM
Subject: [tpp-allies] PC Press Release: Obama "trade" text leak: net neutrality, data privacy implicated
To: tpp-allies <tpp-allies at listserver.citizen.org<mailto:tpp-allies at listserver.citizen.org>>


For Immediate Release:


Angela Bradbery (202) 588-7741<tel:%28202%29%20588-7741>, abradbery at citizen.org<mailto:abradbery at citizen.org>

Dec. 17, 2014

Symone Sanders (202) 454-5108<tel:%28202%29%20454-5108>, ssanders at citizen.org<mailto:ssanders at citizen.org>

Leak of Obama Administration Trade Pact Proposal Reveals Negotiations Affecting Net Neutrality, Limits on Data Privacy Protections
U.S. Internet Governance Policy Should not be Designed in Closed-Door, Industry-Influenced Negotiations of U.S. Trade in Services Agreement

WASHINGTON, D.C. – While a domestic debate about net neutrality rages and public demands for better data privacy protections grow, a U.S. trade pact proposal leaked today reveals that issues related to both policies are being negotiated in closed-door trade talks to which corporate trade advisors have special access, said Public Citizen.

The leaked text is the U.S. proposal for language relating to e-commerce and Internet issues in a proposed Trade in Services Agreement (TISA), which is now being negotiated between a 50-country subset of  World Trade Organization members. The pact would require signatory countries to ensure conformity of their laws, regulations and administrative procedures with the provisions of the TISA; failure to do so could subject a country to trade sanctions. Negotiators are pushing to complete and implement the pact next year.

“This leak reveals a dangerous trend where policies unrelated to trade are being diplomatically legislated through closed-door international ‘trade’ negotiations to which industry interests have privileged access while the public and policy experts promoting consumer interests are shut out,” said Lori Wallach, director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch. “Given the raging domestic debate over net neutrality, the growing demands for more data privacy and the constantly changing technology, a pact negotiated in secret that is not subject to changes absent consensus of all signatories seems like a very bad place to be setting U.S. Internet governance policies.”

Added Burcu Kilic, a lawyer with Public Citizen, “The Internet belongs to its users. Anyone who cares about an open and free Internet should be concerned that U.S. trade negotiators are seeking to lock in international rules about how the Internet functions, and are doing so in a closed-door process that is not subject to the input of  Internet users. Negotiating rules internationally, behind closed doors, while the domestic discussion is ongoing not only makes an end-run around the domestic process, but excludes the perspectives and expertise needed to make good policy.”

With respect to privacy protections, the leaked text reveals that the U.S. negotiators are pushing for new corporate rights for unrestricted cross-border data flows and prohibitions on requirements to hold and process data locally, thus removing governments’ ability to ensure that private and sensitive personal data is stored and processed only in jurisdictions that ensure privacy.

Such measures are considered critical to ensuring that medical, financial and other data provided protection by U.S. law are not made public when sent offshore for processing and storage, with no legal recourse for affected individuals. Numerous U.S. organizations are pushing for improvements in such policies, which are considerably stronger in other countries. If the proposed TISA terms on free data movement were to become binding on the United States, such needed progress would be foreclosed.

For a more detailed analysis of the leaked text and its implications for net neutrality and data privacy, please see this memo<https://data.awp.is/filtrala/2014/12/17/19.html> co-written by Professor Jane Kelsey, University of Auckland School of Law, and Kilic of Public Citizen.


Symone D. Sanders
Communications Officer | Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch
215 Pennsylvania Ave SE, Washington, DC 20003
Office: 202.454.5108<tel:202.454.5108> | Cell: 402-671-8118<tel:402-671-8118>
Email:  ssanders at citizen.org<mailto:ssanders at citizen.org>
Website: www.tradewatch.org<http://www.tradewatch.org/>
Twitter: @PCGTW, @ExposeTPP


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