TiSA Means Open Borders

Though the Trans-Pacific Partnership is supposed to be the trade deal that needs fast track to get approved by Congress, the real worry is the Trade In Services Agreement being negotiated in secret.

Until now, the details of TiSA have been hidden carefully, but a draft treaty and notes about the negotiations now in progress were leaked and posted last week on the WikiLeaks website. It is now clear that even as Republicans like Speaker John Boehner and Congressman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., have been assuring us that the free flow of labor is not covered in the TPP, it is the point of much of the TiSA.

Dick Morris 1

An article by Daniel Costa and Ron Hira of the Economic Policy Institute wades through the pages of the TiSA documents posted on WikiLeaks to find the open immigration provisions. Article 4, concerning “Entry and Temporary Stay of Natural Persons,” stops signatories from “maintaining or adopting Economic Needs Tests, including labor market tests as a requirement for a visa or work permit.” Costa and Hira explain “In other words, U.S. laws or regulations limiting guestworkers only to jobs where no U.S. workers were available would violate the terms of the treaty.”

Article 5 goes further and requires the member nations “shall take market access and national treatment commitments for intra-corporate transferees, business visitors, and … contractual service suppliers and independent professionals.” It then goes on to require signatories to “allow entry and temporary stay of [contractual service suppliers and independent professionals” in a list of specific fields.

The covered occupations include: “landscape architectural services, medical services, midwives, nurses, maintenance and repair of equipment, general construction, assembly work, refuse disposal, sanitation, hotels and restaurants, transport services,” among others — precisely the fields that use huge numbers of legal and illegal foreign workers.

Costa and Hira point out that “foreign firms would not be required to advertise jobs to U.S. workers, or to hire U.S. workers if they were equally or better qualified for job openings in their own country.” They note that the treaty means that “potentially hundreds of thousands of workers could enter the U.S. every year … importing cheaper labor to supplant American workers.” Why would a hotel chain hire American workers when it could transfer unlimited numbers of foreign employees to the U.S. to do the jobs. Anyone who has visited Western Europe is usually amazed at the number of Polish, Hungarian, Czech and Romanian kids waiting tables in Paris, Rome, Dublin and London — all courtesy of the EU requirement for free flow of labor. Meanwhile unemployment in Western Europe frequently runs into double digits. Under TiSA, the same thing will happen here, and American workers will find fewer and fewer job openings.

The Treaty is often billed as impacting high-tech Silicon Valley jobs only. But its provisions make it obvious that it will be a bonanza for multinational corporations of all sorts. Nothing could be more calculated to depress wage levels in the service sector that provides 7 of 10 American jobs.

Employment in manufacturing has already been truncated in the U.S. because of competition from foreign, offshore workers. But the service sector has seen less foreign competition because, by definition, most services cannot be outsourced offshore. But under TiSA they can.

In general, Democrats want immigrants to vote but, because of union pressure, not to work. Republicans want them to work (to pad corporate profits) but not to vote. TiSA lets them work without getting on a citizenship track. It puts corporate profits ahead of American employment and wages.

TPP doesn’t really need fast track to get approved. But TiSA does. Anyone who backs fast track should forfeit the right to complain about income stagnation and inequality in America.

Also See,

The Disgraceful Trade Vote

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