Free Trade Agreement Negative List
However, the impact of these two provisions on the GATS is limited, as the GATS allows a system of „positive lists“ for market access and national treatment, only those sectors that have been on the list (see Articles XVI and XVII). Most of the rules of the recipient nation mean that regardless of „special relationships“ or historical ties, the companies of each country must be treated in the same way. Although the GATS allowed countries to list exemptions for certain service sectors, it was different for all services. Together, these rules provide transnational companies with better access to local services, open services markets to global competition and outsourcing. Other GATS articles have the potential to limit the government`s „political space.“ Article VI of the National Regulation stipulates that all national laws or regulations relating to the service sectors on the positive list „must be managed appropriately, objectively and impartially.“ Although this may seem relatively benign, it opens a new front to the challenge of national rules and decisions: politicians are no longer solely accountable to their constituents; their legislation must also respect the „adequacy“ versions of their trading partners. The partners of the free trade agreement are required to ensure that general measures relating to trade in services are managed appropriately, objectively and impartially. At the Meeting of Deputy Ministers, the two sides exchanged views on regional and multilateral cooperation issues, such as trade, investment, third-party market development, innovation, the comprehensive regional economic partnership, the China-Japan-South Korea free trade area and WTO reforms. Although the Free Trade Agreement between China and South Korea already includes many „advanced articles“ highlighting services and investment, the introduction of a negative list in free trade negotiations indicates that China wants to continue to link this mechanism to global markets, said Bai Ming, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation. A negative list defines prohibited economic activities, while all others are considered allowed. Citizens and civil society organizations, including those based in rich countries, which encourage the liberalization of services, have played an increasing role in combating harmful trade agreements. Large protests at the 1999 WTO Ministerial Conference in Seattle led to the failure of negotiations when anger erupted over the unfair treatment of developing countries.
Since then, campaigns have continued, including significant mobilizations against the TTIP and TPP regional trade agreements, in part because of their potential impact on public services. These campaigns went beyond resistance and developed alternative proposals for international trade rules. The alternative exchange mandate, drawn up by 50 EU trade unions and civil society organisations in 2013-14, calls for international trade rules that protect public services, carefully regulate financial economy industries and allow countries in the political space to regulate in the public interest. From the end of the Second World War to the 1980s, trade agreements focused only on cross-border trade in physical goods. However, during the Uruguayan round of negotiations that launched the World Trade Organization in 1995, a new agreement to liberalize world trade in the services sector, called the World Trade in Services Agreement (GATS), was concluded. Since then, other trade agreements such as TTIP, CETA, TiSA and the many bilateral investment agreements continue to extend GATS rules or attempt to do so after ratification.