ITF: Secret TiSA road transport plans ‘disastrous’

The International Transport Workers' Federation has strongly criticised another secret text leaked from the Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA) process.

The text has been published today by Wikileaks (https://wikileaks.org/tisa/press.html) to coincide with the latest TiSA talks.

The 23 governments involved, together with the EU, aim to conclude an international trade treaty that would liberalise the worldwide trade of services, including transport. The TISA texts have been negotiated in secret with no possibility of the inclusion of a sustainability or labour chapter.

"In road freight transport this is particularly disastrous. There are so many labour market and social problems in the sector that even the EU has stated it sees no value in this text," said ITF road transport secretary Mac Urata.

Eastern European drivers and those from further afield are already paid indecently low wages, work extremely long hours and live in insanitary conditions at truck stops and in parking lots across mainland Europe. The ITF believes the leaked proposal would be likely to create similar situations elsewhere in the world. 

"This is not a situation that needs liberalisation – nor does it need replication. Rather it needs better regulation, road safety oversight, health and environmental oversight and proper enforcement," Urata added.

An additional problem was the envisaged issuance of visas to drivers via transport associations, not governments. "This is an irresponsible and unacceptable safety and security risk," he said.

If progressed, this Annex would open up all international and domestic road transport services – including cabotage – of all TiSA signatories to operators from the other signatory countries.

NOTE: The 15th round of talks for a Trade in Services Agreement, which began on 29 November in Geneva, will bring together the TISA parties: 23 members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) including the EU with its 28 Member States counted as a single participant. The 23 countries are Australia, Canada, Chile, Chinese Taipei, Colombia, Costa Rica, the EU, Hong Kong China, Iceland, Israel, Japan, Korea, Liechtenstein, Mauritius, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Pakistan, Panama, Peru, Switzerland, Turkey, the United States.

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