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A major debate about the new trade agreements TTIP and TiSA is urgently needed

by Thomas Kaiser

Whilst the so-called Western world celebrated its victory over communism in the late eighties of the last century, it has at least since the financial crisis become obvious for all that the solely profit-oriented neoliberal economic system has massive defects and is in urgent need of being reviewed and reformed. But so far this is being done only in the most rudimentary and usually only temporary way. In the red carpet areas of the high street banks people tell themselves – off record – to now sit out the crisis and afterwards just to carry on as before. Rethinking, which would be imperative, is done only in a few places, if at all. On the contrary, central banks, especially those in the US or the EU, have pumped hundreds of billions into the money circulation to prevent the banking crisis from continuing to spread and the disaster from becoming obvious to everyone. But a debt of almost 20,000 billion dollars in the US or of over 2,000 billion in the Federal Republic of Germany brings up the fundamental question of how this is ever to be refinanced. Instead of doing everything to get away from this unbridled debt policy and of pursuing a policy orientated towards the common good and based on economic reality, the European Central Bank ECB has started to buy up government bonds of EU member states and thus to shoot even more money into circulation.
In actual fact the western industrial nations are in deep trouble, notably also because the Russian and Asian competition is growing and because the West is in danger of missing the boat due to their arrogance and to their everlasting claims to power. In order to prevent the possible collapse of the Western economy, and probably in the best case to delay it, the US is trying to create new (coercive) instruments within the old system to generate more money and profits on a short-term basis. These include the trade agreement TTIP (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership) and the agreement on the liberalization or deregulation of services TiSA (Trade in Services Agreement). Both agreements have so far been negotiated in secret, with Switzerland seated at the negotiating table of the TiSA proceedings.
It is the fundamental goal of free trade agreements to abolish customs duties for certain category groups and to thus make free trade between two or more states possible. The EFTA is a prime example for this: here, agriculture is one area which has – with good reason – been exempt from free trade. However, these new contracts go much further concerning their subject matter, namely right through to a private jurisdiction, and they will therefore lead to a massive interference with state sovereignty. Franz Kotteder, editor of the “Süddeutsche Zeitung” writes in his recent book “Der grosse Ausverkauf – wie die Ideologie des freien Handels unsere Demokratie gefährdet” (The Great Sell-Off – How the Ideology of Free Trade Is Threatening Our Democracy) about TTIP and TiSA: “It is part of a coup d’état by international trade associations and by the major corporations, it cannot be said otherwise.” Stefan Giger, Secretary-General of the union VPOD (Swiss Association of the staff of public Services), and Lukas Reimann, Swiss People’s Party National Councillor and President of the Movement for an Independent and Neutral Switzerland (AUNS) will provide information from different angles about what this coup d’état is and where opposition to this monstrous group of treaties is already rising, namely even at UN level.