Liberalizing Trade in Services: Lessons from Regional and WTO Negotiations

in International Negotiation
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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.

Liberalizing Trade in Services: Lessons from Regional and WTO Negotiations

in International Negotiation



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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.”


  • View in gallery
    Restrictiveness of services trade policies by GDP per capita, 2007 (102 countries).
  • View in gallery
    Restrictiveness of services trade policies by sector (102 countries).
  • View in gallery
    Sectoral coverage: GATS vs. PTA averages.


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