TiSA endangers coasts and foresees “lawless” seas and skies, say ITF and Greenpeace Netherlands

September 20, 2016

Today’s release at a press conference in Geneva by Greenpeace Netherlands of a revised secret text on maritime services from the proposed Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA) – an international trade treaty being negotiated between 23 parties, including the European Union and the United States – has not dispelled fears that years of rules developed in shipping will be undone should the agreement come into force.

TiSA could open the transport of what has been classed as national cargo by all parties – potentially including ships owned by parties flying the flag of a third country – a flag of convenience, or FOC. The opening up of coastal trades to potentially badly regulated vessels raises serious environmental and safety concerns.

The maritime industry is already a free trade environment, with weakened national government controls epitomised in the FOC system. Where state control is weakest it has left a space for illegal and unregulated operators. The danger with the secret TiSA texts that have emerged is that the new treaty would trump the established agencies that have tried to address this imbalance.

TiSA is a threat to the International Labour Organization and the International Maritime Organization, which oversee global labour, technical and safety standards in maritime transport. It would have the same impact in aviation, its rules taking precedence over the International Civil Aviation Organization, whose 1944 Chicago Convention lays down the primacy of public safety.

The European Parliament’s international trade committee has already called for TiSA to be consistent with these international standards, to “consider them as minimum standards and to oppose any lowering of these international benchmarks.”

“Even without TISA, liberalisation and deregulation is already extreme in maritime transport. Minimum standards for seafarers are essential as a protective mechanism in an otherwise lawless environment. With TISA, the global standards set by the proper international bodies could be undermined,” said ITF policy coordinator Sarah Finke at the Greenpeace press conference.

“Unless the text is changed then it will constitute an attack on those very necessary minimum standards – and threaten livelihoods of maritime workers everywhere” she added.

Find out more at https://ttip-leaks.org and https://stop-tisa.net/en.

For more information, please contact ITF policy officer Sarah Finke on finke_sarah@itf.org.uk, or for general enquiries, ITF press officer Sam Dawson on +442079409260.

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