Treating democratic laws and regulations of elected governments, designed to protect the public interest, as barriers to trade is a fundamental misconception of the role of government. Laws and regulations to protect workers, consumers, small business and the environment exist because the market does not produce these outcomes.
The global financial crisis made clear the catastrophic results of failing to adequately regulate the financial markets. From global warming to the Rana Plaza disaster, our world is confronted with national and global challenges highlighting the tragic consequences of failing to make and enforce decent rules for the benefit of all in our societies. The power to regulate is also essential to provide fair competition for business and allows countries, cities and regions to pursue economic and cultural development.
The Trades in Services Agreement (TISA), currently being negotiated in secret, is among the alarming new wave of trade and investment agreements founded on legally-binding powers that institutionalise the rights of transnational investors and prohibit government actions in a wide range of areas only incidentally related to trade.
This report’s companion document TISA versus Public Services outlines the harm the TISA will also do to public services designed to provide vital social and economic necessities – such as health care and education – affordably, universally and on the basis of need. Outcomes the market cannot produce.