GATS ain't Great

GATS threatens basic services here and in the developing world. The General Agreement on Trade and Services (GATS) is an attempt to expand the power of the World Trade Organisation, and negotiators have been hammering out new rules on trade in services. GATS promotes "free trade" in services like banking and facilities such as telecommunications. Current negotiations could extend to basic services essential to poor people, like water, health care and education. Governments would be forced to hand over control of these services to the world's largest companies.

Multinationals are lobbying hard for this agreement. US corporations have their eye on European health care. European water and energy companies want to expand into Third World countries. This basically prevents governments carrying out their fundamental duty - to deliver basic services to their citizens. Poor people without purchasing power will suffer.

This undemocratic process must be challenged. International public awareness about GATS is almost nil. The first crucial stage of negotiations is at the end of December. Write to your MP now c/o House of Commons, SW1A 0PW. Call 0207 219 3000 if you don't know your MP's name.

For more information about GATS phone WDM 0207 737 6215 or check out

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© Networking Newsletter (Dec 2000)