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The Game is up

 
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Well, what do you know! Wasn't expecting it this soon!
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The current GATS negotiations, sponsored by the World Trade Organisation (WTO) are aimed at liberalising trade.
The shock news is that in their opening offer document to developing countries the EU have set out this offer as regards the IT sector:-

Computer and Related Services
In Computer Services, a sector that is key to the development of the Information Society in Europe, the Commission proposes to offer full market access to foreign service providers, including to high-skilled self-employed computer experts. This should enable Europe to benefit from the best computer services at the lowest cost, with a view to reach the goal set in the �Lisbon Strategy�.
Read more about this and what it means at www.NamesFacesPlaces.com - especially our article �The Game is up for us - EU to offer full IT market access to 3rd World�
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The Game is up for us - EU to offer full IT market access to 3rd World (33 Comments)

Author
Gerry McLaughlin

Date
5/8/2003
Article:

The World Trade Organisation�s free trade negotiations are in full swing � and the following is what they are about to offer the developing world, in their own words.
Summary of the Commission�s Proposal for the EU�s Service Offer
Introduction
This paper sets out a summary of the main features of the Commission�s proposal for the EU�s services offer in the GATS negotiations under the DOHA Development Agenda (DDA).
This offer is conditional on the submission of substantive offers from WTO members in sectors where the EU has made requests. The EU, therefore, retains the right to withdraw any elements of it at any time during the negotiation.
Computer and Related Services
In Computer Services, a sector that is key to the development of the Information Society in Europe, the Commission proposes to offer full market access to foreign service providers, including to high-skilled self-employed computer experts. This should enable Europe to benefit from the best computer services at the lowest cost, with a view to reach the goal set in the �Lisbon Strategy�.
Mobility of Persons (Mode 4)
�Mode 4� is when people travel to the EU to provide services for a limited period of time. Developing countries have placed a particular emphasis on Mode4 in their requests to the EU, but the EU also has important offensive interests to pursue in this area.
Under the Commission�s proposals, several improvements to the EU�s commitments are proposed.
� A service company with a graduate training programme will be able to transfer its �Managers of the future� for up to one year to obtain work experience with an affiliated company in the EU
� Overseas companies, who have a contract to provide certain services with a client in the EU, will be able to send skilled personnel to the EU to provide these services for up to six months at a time. The EU already has commitments in this area, but the proposal extends the number of sectors that are covered, as well as the permitted length of stay and length of the underlying contract
� Self employed skilled professional working in certain sectors (no doubt ours), and based overseas will be able to enter the EU for up to six months at a time to provide services to EU clients
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The world of UK IT workers to be turned upside down in 18 months (3 Comments)



Author
Gerry McLaughlin



Date
6/8/2003
Article:

Read our article on �The Game is Up� before reading this.
Full Market Access
According to the EU bargaining position in the WTO trade talks, as an opening negotiation they are prepared to give away the following:-
�In Computer Services, a sector that is key to the development of the Information Society in Europe, the Commission proposes to offer full market access to foreign service providers, including to high-skilled self-employed computer experts. This should enable Europe to benefit from the best computer services at the lowest cost, with a view to reach the goal set in the �Lisbon Strategy�.�
So, it looks finally as if our industry has been traded. NamesFacesPlaces has been saying for some time that it looked as if our industry was being used as a Swapsie in some global power game.
We didn�t have any evidence for it, but the theory just seemed to fit the facts so much, and the attitude of our Government, e.g. over the issue of IT Work Permits.
But now it appears to be all true. The EU have officially offered us as a sacrifice.
It All Makes Sense Now
It didn�t seem to make sense what the Government was doing. Why was it letting so many companies away with abuses of the system? Why was it not prosecuting anybody, despite incontrovertible evidence of widespread abuse by especially Indian companies in the UK?
Also why did they let the CEO of Indian company Iflex out of Brixton prison after their people had been working in Holland on the wrong visas, and the Dutch authorities had asked our authorities to apprehend him?
Why were the Government issuing 22,700 IT Work Permits a year, 13,200 of them to Indians, even after the Skills Panel had taken all IT skills off the shortage list, and e-commerce minister Stephen Timms told the Bangalore Trade fair that �there was no longer an IT skills shortage in the UK�?
It seemed very odd didn�t it?
Knew All the time
I think that the Government knew exactly what was going on. They knew that the IT industry, and the jobs within it, had been traded.
Our multi-national companies, as well as the likes of IBM, EDS, Accenture, Oracle, Cisco, HP and CSC wanted access to the markets of the developing countries � and they were prepared to sacrifice our jobs to get it.
They were able to persuade the EU and US governments that this was for the greater good.
When seen in this light, the government�s attitude makes perfect sense. It�s similar to when something is going to be de-criminalised.
If the government was going to de-criminalise cannabis by January 1st next year, would the police still be expending a lot of energy and time in arresting people for smoking it now?
Forewarned is Forearmed
Well at least we know what the situation is. We also have a little time. The current scheduled end to the current round of talks is in January 2005 � so that gives us 17 months, at least, to prepare.
There are three types of people in this world:-
1) Those that make things happen
2) Those that things happen to
3) and those that say �What happened�?

At least we have been forewarned and are no longer in category 3. I�d have to say we are not in category 1. It looks like we are no better than category 2, just having been promoted from category 3.
We have been given 17 months notice. However, the Government is likely to turn a blind eye to abuses up to then I would have thought. They appear to have been doing so already.
Make Hay, Not War
To my mind that time isn�t best spent fighting against it � especially as it is the opening offer.
It would be much more productive to accept the new reality � and then work out how we can survive, or even profit from it.
In any time of great change, there are three types of people:-
1) Those that do nothing and go under
2) Those that adapt and survive
3) Those that see the new opportunities and who thrive from taking advantage of them
Not Wasting Time
NamesFacesPlaces will not be wasting its time in the coming days, weeks and months by organising some campaign to stop this. Looking at those who already have their hands up in favour of the swapsie, it appears to be futile.
NamesFacesPlaces will be spending its time analysing the new reality in our IT world, and working out best how we can survive, and even thrive, in this new world that will be here in 17 months.
We will be thinking the unthinkable. We will be making suggestions that might even cause uproar.
However, we will leave it up to our readers to work out whether they want to fight this head on, move with the flow, or ride this bucking bronco for all it is worth.
KEEP AN EYE OUT HERE
regards
[ August 07, 2003: Message edited by: HS Thomas ]
 
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This is not news. I have a cousing who lives in Europe and has his own IT shop, and back in February this year we were talking about this. Apparently, a big incentive for them to open up their service market to foreigners is a bargain that would allow them to keep their subsidies to farmers and still trade. It seems that Europe's trading partners are exerting pressure on that front.
However, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovenia, Slovakia, Poland, the Czech Republic, Cyprus, Hungary and Malta are joining the Union next year. These are countries with highly skilled people living in a not so prosperous economy (though who is). The logic is that they too will be seeking employment in Western Europe and filling up new jobs in their own part of the world. It's going to be interesting to see how things are going to develop in the next ten years.
[ August 09, 2003: Message edited by: Carlisia Campos ]
 
HS Thomas
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It takes some self-organisation to be able to be ready and deliver.
The Indian companies are seen to be the ones ahead and most likely to get off-shoring contracts.
Considering products like NetBeans was originally started by Czechs
I won't be surprised that all those countries you've listed , Carlisa , could compete on a huge front.I am sure there's loads of new ideas being worked on in those countries,too. There also have to be new markets for all these goodies to be sold to. Or should I say new middle-classes. Approx 630 million in China alone.
regards
[ August 09, 2003: Message edited by: HS Thomas ]
 
Carlisia Campos
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Self-organization is going to be the key indeed, since many companies fail because they can't manage their customers. In fact, this same cousing of mine told me that he did buy IT services from a company at another country at some point. What happened with him was that whenever this company's demand increased locally, they would neglect their foreign customer (my cousing in this case) and focus on the local clients.
 
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