Info Service on WTO and Trade Issues (Apr15/08)
24 April 2015
Third World Network
put forward on services pillar of post-Bali work
Published in SUNS #8007 dated 22 April 2015
Geneva, 21 Apr (Kanaga Raja) -- An informal meeting of the Special
Session of the Council for Trade in Services on Monday (20 April),
amongst others, heard proposals from some Members on defining the
services component of the post-Bali work programme on the remaining
Doha Development Agenda (DDA) issues.
According to trade officials, proposals were made by Australia, the
United States and the European Union on the services component of
the post-Bali work programme that is to be agreed by 31 July 2015.
Members also agreed that the services component of the work programme
should include market access and rule-making for services trade, with
the market access negotiations needing to move in parallel with the
rule- making part of the services agenda.
According to trade officials, many members were of the view that the
market access outcomes would be supported by domestic regulation disciplines.
Australia, Japan, Korea and Mexico called for text-based negotiations.
However, trade officials said, with respect to the negotiations on
GATS rules, members were in agreement that neither government procurement,
subsidies nor emergency safeguard measures are mature enough to form
part of the work programme.
According to trade officials, Australia and the US proposed that before
making any new or revised services offers, members should provide
a list of sectors and modes of supply where they feel comfortable
in making commitments and others where they are not, based on their
experiences with Free Trade Agreements.
This would help to determine the level of ambition for the services
negotiations, and would also fill the gap between members' commitments
within the GATS framework and the advances made in services trade
over the past two decades.
In order to give more clarity and precision, Australia proposed introducing
a formula approach for the market access negotiations.
The EU proposed focusing on trade facilitating and cross-cutting services,
including delivery, transport, distribution, telecommunications, training,
installation and repairing, including a potential first outcome on
qualification and licensing requirements procedures.
According to trade officials, this proposal was welcomed by India
Australia, Barbados on behalf of the ACP (African, Caribbean and Pacific)
Group, China, Chinese Taipei, Hong Kong-China, Japan, New Zealand,
Norway, Singapore, Switzerland, Turkey and Uganda on behalf of the
Least Developed Countries (LDCs) Group indicated the sectors and modes
of supply where they would like to see an outcome.
According to trade officials, Barbados stressed on the importance
of mode 4 (movement of natural persons). It also said that attention
should be given to new commitments, particularly on contract suppliers
and independent professionals.
Uganda also said that mode 4 is a priority for the LDC group. It welcomed
the work being undertaken on the LDC services waiver.
According to trade officials, Australia, China, Mexico, New Zealand
and Singapore called for a timeline to be set on submitting revised
and/or new offers following from the 2005 Recommendations of the Special
Session of the Council for Trade in Services (Annex C of the Hong
Kong Ministerial Declaration).
While members acknowledged the importance of the services component
of the post-Bali work programme, some of them repeated their call
for the agriculture and non-agricultural market access (NAMA) negotiations
to accelerate in order to set the tone for the services negotiations.
Brazil said that services is not a self-contained pillar and that
the level of ambition in agriculture should be higher than that in
both services and NAMA combined.
According to trade officials, South Africa said it is not ready to
engage in the market access discussions until there is better clarity
in the other pillars. It also voiced scepticism about members meeting
the July deadline (for agreeing on the post-Bali work programme).
On the other hand, other members including Australia, Chile, Costa
Rica, the EU, New Zealand, Pakistan and Peru called for the services
pillar to be more independent and to ensure that it does not lag behind.
According to trade officials, as with previous meetings, it was suggested
that the work already undertaken on services could be used as a benchmark
on resuming the negotiations.
These include: request and offer negotiations; Annex C of the 2005
Hong Kong Ministerial Declaration; the 2008 Signalling Conference
at which members indicated positive market access commitments across
all major services sectors and modes of supply; the 2009 Chairman's
report to the Trade Negotiations Committee; and the 2011 Chairman's
report to the Trade Negotiations Committee.
According to trade officials, at the informal meeting, several delegations
stressed the importance of achieving a balanced outcome with agriculture
and NAMA, with some members calling for agriculture to receive primary
Both developed and developing countries including Barbados, Costa
Rica, Kenya, Cuba, Indonesia, Norway and Australia highlighted the
importance of placing the development dimension at the heart of the
negotiations, trade officials said.
According to trade officials, India said that members should avoid
cherry-picking of issues and accord equal treatment to all sectors
and modes of supply.
The Chair of the Special Session, Ambassador Gabriel Duque of Colombia,
will be producing a factual, non- binding, non-attributable and non-prescriptive
summary report reflecting the statements made by members at this meeting,
trade officials added. +