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The Washington Times recently reported, “The European Union is demanding that foreign companies be allowed to compete with the U.S. Postal Service as part of World Trade Organization talks that began last year.”
This should be no big honking surprise. In 1992 I spent an inordinate amount of time and energy complaining about NAFTA, GATT and specifically the World Trade Organization. For good or ill, I became a captive of NAFTA & GATT in the early 90s.
Reportedly, Europe also wants access to American markets for municipal water and waste services. It also will call for foreign companies to be given access to Small Business Administration loans. Gosh, oh, gee golly – what took them so long?
This overreaching inevitability is going to be formally presented to the U.S. government by the end of June. It is Phase 1 of an incremental jihad in WTO negotiations on trade in services. We can expect the probing attacks to include industries from energy and finance to telecommunications. This is just the beginning.
This is exactly what an eclectic collection of dissonant pundits were warning of a decade ago when WTO was established as a global “dispute resolution” tool.
NAFTA and GATT were (and are) complex and nonpartisan. Supporters and opponents represented a very broad bipartisan collection of strange bedfellows. I have often used this issue as a classic example of “it’s not who is right or wrong but what.” I wasn’t the Lone Ranger opposing NAFTA, GATT and the WTO, and the inevitable unintended (or intended) consequences. Ross Perot, Pat Buchanan, Jesse Jackson, Ralph Nader, Dr. Pat Choate and a gaggle of Democrats and Republicans joined together.
At the time of the doomed debate I sent out thousands of talking point sheets, which included seven key points on the WTO. I have resurrected that list (originally developed by Dr. Pat Choate) and added it to my website.
The first two items note:
- The WTO will have the same status as the U.N., IMF, and World Bank.
Article VIII of the Agreement … states the WTO “shall have legal personality and shall be accorded by each of its members such privileges and immunities as are necessary for the exercise of its functions.” The existing GATT organization will disappear.
- Under WTO, Congress agrees to change U.S. laws to meet WTO obligations.
Article XVI, paragraph four … states, “Each Member shall ensure the conformity of its laws, regulations, and administrative procedures with its obligations as provided in the annexed Agreements.”
NAFTA and GATT were approved by Congress 10 years ago not as treaties but as “agreements,” a distinction without discernible procedural differences but with one major legal difference: A treaty would have required a supermajority approval by the Senate. The globalist bastards knew they couldn’t get that dog to hunt, so they created the legal fiction of the “agreements.” There are plenty of euphemisms for excrement; none of the labels changes the character of the substance.
What did this legal fiction accomplish? The WTO will be the global Supreme Court of trade disputes. As per Section 2 of the Dispute Settlement Understanding, the WTO will adjudicate global trade disputes, monitor national responses, and compel enforcement of its decisions. WTO rulings are final.
The WTO can impose trade sanctions and fines on the U.S. if we do not abide by its decisions. The WTO can authorize cross-sector retaliation. If the U.S. loses a WTO dispute panel decision, for example, the World Trade Organization can give the plaintiff nation(s) authority to select which U.S. industries, or combination of US industries, must bear the burden of the WTO trade sanctions. Under WTO, innocent bystander industries can be drawn into any trade fight.
Harry Freeman, a Washington-based analyst of trade negotiations, said, “What the European Union is going after is pretty predictable. … These are the clear bones of contention.” Duh! Metcalf, Buchanan, Perot et al. were screaming about this 10 years ago.
The suggestion that foreign companies be allowed to deliver U.S. letters is guaranteed to spark tough opposition. You bet the Postal Service and other unions have their knickers in a bunch over this.
World negotiations on services are governed by GATT and include rules for regulating services that affect such agencies as the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Federal Communications Commission and state insurance regulators.
Many of the groups say new negotiations will force cities to sell municipal utilities such as water and electricity and could put them in the hands of far-off corporations.
Well guess what? “Now the cat is out of the bag,” said Ruth Caplan, who handles trade issues for the Alliance for Democracy. “From the mail we receive to the water we drink, the European requests show that our basic public services are under threat.”
Defenders of the indefensible scoff at the notion that the WTO negotiations will destroy government monopolies. “The foundation of the WTO is not discriminating against foreign companies,” said Bill Reinsch, president of the National Foreign Trade Council. “If we don’t let American companies do it, we don’t have to let European ones in.”
Well, the devil is in the details. As Article XVI states, “No reservations may be made in respect to any provisions of this Agreement.” In other words, Congress can’t do jack-spit to fix any offending provision in this agreement.