Acting on behalf of powerful corporations in the services industries, about 37 countries calling themselves “The Really Good Friends of Services” (RGF) launched secret unofficial talks in 2012 towards drafting a new treaty that would further liberalize trade and investment in services, and expand “regulatory disciplines” on all services sectors, including many public services. The treaty rules would increase foreign corporate control over domestic services and would restrict governments’ ability to regulate services. This would essentially change the regulation of many public and privatized or commercial services from serving the public interest to serving the profit interests of private, foreign corporations. Soon countries will meet again in Geneva to accelerate the negotiations towards showing “substantial progress” during the upcoming Ministerial of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in Bali in December, 2013.
Please see the attached letter. Members of the Our World Is Not for Sale (OWINFS) network are organizing to stop this radical “free trade” agreement (FTA) on services from coming into existence. The letter is for organizations that care about keeping public services such as education, health care, water and electricity provision, transportation, and postal distribution in the hands of the public, as well as maintaining strong public interest oversight over other services like financial (banking, accounting, insurance), retail, communications, construction, telecommunications, and many many more. It is important for organizations from countries that are participating in the negotiations, as well as from countries that are not participating, to endorse the letter.