The Plurilateral Agreement on Services : At the Starting Gate

11-02-2013

Faced with an impasse in World Trade Organisation's global multilateral trade talks, some 20 countries — accounting for two-thirds of the world's cross-border trade in services — began negotiating a plurilateral agreement on services in 2012 with the aim of opening domestic markets to foreign services and guaranteeing foreign and domestic companies equal treatment. Negotiations were confidential until recently, but on 15 January the US Trade Representative's office notified the US Congress of its intention to negotiate such an agreement. The European Commission is also expected to make its position public in the coming months by requesting an official mandate from the Council. The agreement has been calculated as offering the EU a potential EUR 15.6 billion and the USA EUR 10.4 billion. For the moment, China, India and Brazil remain outside the proposed trade agreement, and their entrance would increase the potential gain by 30 %. With this in mind, the agreement is likely to be crafted in such a way as to allow them a relatively easy accession in the near future.

Faced with an impasse in World Trade Organisation's global multilateral trade talks, some 20 countries — accounting for two-thirds of the world's cross-border trade in services — began negotiating a plurilateral agreement on services in 2012 with the aim of opening domestic markets to foreign services and guaranteeing foreign and domestic companies equal treatment. Negotiations were confidential until recently, but on 15 January the US Trade Representative's office notified the US Congress of its intention to negotiate such an agreement. The European Commission is also expected to make its position public in the coming months by requesting an official mandate from the Council. The agreement has been calculated as offering the EU a potential EUR 15.6 billion and the USA EUR 10.4 billion. For the moment, China, India and Brazil remain outside the proposed trade agreement, and their entrance would increase the potential gain by 30 %. With this in mind, the agreement is likely to be crafted in such a way as to allow them a relatively easy accession in the near future.