International Trade in Services
International free trade agreements, including those negotiated at the World Trade Organization (WTO), establish regulations for trade of goods and services between countries. The General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) and the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) establish rules for trade in services, including public post-secondary education.
Provisions in these agreements enable private companies to sue national governments to force them to remove potential 'barriers' to trade. In the case of education, 'barriers' may include public funding, public administration, standards for instruction and degree-granting status, and the public regulation of tuition fees.
A legal opinion sought by the Federation and the Canadian Association of University Teachers confirmed that public post-secondary education is vulnerable under the GATS.
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