Uruguay’s initial decision to join the TiSA negotiations was met with strong and vocal opposition. Last month, more than 40,000 protestors shut down the city of Montevideo for a 24 hour general strike in which the TiSA was a major issue. The Frente Amplio (FA), Uruguay’s leading political party, passed a resolution calling for Uruguay to leave the negotiations, and yesterday, Uruguyan President Vázques officially announced Uruguay’s departure. Uruguay’s decision is in no small part thanks to the tireless efforts of many activists, labor unions, environmental organizations, and other civil society groups in the country.
And the Uruguayans are right to be concerned about TiSA. Comprised of 51 nations, negotiations on the “trade” agreement have been on-going since 2013. Much like its TPP and TAFTA counterparts, TiSA negotiations have been conducted behind closed doors, with no access for civil society or stakeholders. However, a number of leaks of negotiating documents have confirmed the worst: TiSA is a threat to key public services and domestic regulations that we rely on for commonsense financial regulations, data privacy, net neutrality and a number of other issues. And that’s just what we can confirm based on leaks.
While Uruguay’s rejection of TiSA is certainly a moment to celebrate in the fight against the global expansion of the corporate trade model, much work remains. Given what we know about TiSA, its completion would be disastrous for workers, consumers, internet users, and those in need of public services. Therefore, the campaign continues, and in the words of Rosa Pavanelli, General Secretary of the Public Services International global union (one of the groups leading the charge against TiSA), Uruguay’s decision is “an example that we hope others will soon follow.”