Liberalization of trade and investment in services through trade agreements has progressed less than trade in goods. We review the limited progress achieved to date in the WTO and major regional agreements on services and possible explanations why trade agreements have not been more effective at integrating the services markets of participating countries. We argue that the prospects for both services liberalization and welfare-enhancing regulatory reform in the context of trade agreements can be enhanced through mechanisms that enhance transparency, dialogue and cooperation between regulators, trade officials and stakeholders.
DeePhilippaFindlayChristopher“Services: A ‘Deal-Maker’ in the Doha Round?”Monitoring Trade Policy: A New Agenda for Reviving the Doha Round2007Trade Policy Monitoring Centre Kiel Institute and Centre for Policy Research
FinkC.JansenM.BaldwinR.LowP.“Services Provisions in Regional Trade Agreements: Stumbling or Building Blocks for Multilateral Liberalization?”Multilateralizing Regionalism.2009CambridgeCambridge University Press
MarchettiJ.RoyM.MarchettiJ.RoyM.“Services Liberalization in the WTO and in PTAs,”Opening Markets for Trade in Services: Countries and Sectors in Bilateral and WTO Negotiations2008CambridgeCambridge University Press
Francois and Hoekman (2010) survey the recent empirical literature assessing the effects of greater trade and competition on productivity of firms that use services as inputs.
But as noted by Dee and Findlay (2007) “Given the relatively high resource cost of making and implementing good policy it is unlikely that all countries can or should move immediately to ‘world’s best practice’ in all regulatory areas.”