WTO procurement and US spending stimulus


Run 75441 comments on the WTO and US stimulus spending (lifted from comments):

Lori Wallach, Director of Public Citizens Global Trade Watch did a recent (March 12, 2009) report to the subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Trade, “US Foreign Economic Policy in the Global Crisis.” Briefly this is what she is saying about banking and trade globally and how we may have signed away our rights.

Obama and company are on a collison course with the WTO and its Financial Service Agreement as signed by 39 countries including the US. By signing such, we have to treat foreign financial institutes as if they were the same as Amerrican banks, etc. Last year’s November Doha meeting was meant to develop a coordinated reponse to the current crisis. I suspect there will be much gnashing of teeth as the Obama reverses the trend of supporting the WTO expansion into domestic banking regulations and limitations. Other countries have excluded certain aspects of the WTO limiting its reach into such areas as well as production. In our push for greater deregulation globally, we instead achieved the control of the global banking and financial system by a few.

I guess we were the naive bunch on the global neighborhood block?

More under the fold from rdan…

The WTO’s procurement agreement and those of the FTAs into which the United States has entered limit how Congress may expend our tax dollars. Given the recent brouhaha attacking Buy American rules in the stimulus package as ‘protectionist,’ it is worth noting that the terms in question had nothing to do with tariffs or trade or the functioning of private markets. Rather at issue was Congress’ right to decide how to best spend U.S. tax dollars in a manner that could stimulate our economy. Yet, “trade” pacts such as WTO and the FTAs set limits on Congress’ decisions regarding use of our tax dollars in a manner that provides preferences for U.S.-made goods or U.S. firms.

Thus Congress’ stimulus spending of our tax dollars will not fully cycle through the U.S. economy, even though studies show that doing so provides important economic gains. For instance, the $20 billion in funding for electronic medical record keeping in the 2009 Economic Recovery Plan is probably more likely to be spent offshore rather than to employ Americans. Meanwhile, despite the hysteria regarding the Buy American rules relating to infrastructure projects, in reality even though the stimulus package included the much broader Senate version of Buy America rules, only a small share of that money can be directed into the U.S. economy thanks to the limits set in trade
agreement procurement rules. For instance, firms operating in 39 countries, including all of Europe, that signed the highly controversial WTO procurement agreement and firms in the additional 13 countries who are signatories to U.S FTAs must be treated as if they were U.S. firms for certain aspects of even the covered spending. While there are some important exceptions listed in the U.S. schedule of commitments in these agreements that safeguard the right to use domestic preferences for some categories of goods, the United States altogether gave up its rights to provide preferences to U.S. firms regarding the construction and other service procurement contracts.