Trade - TiSA, agreement on services expected by the end of 2016

The EU is committed to reaching an agreement on trade in services by the end of this year.

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TiSA - 18th round of talks in Geneva and meeting in Paris

The 18th round of talks for a Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA) took place last week in Geneva under EU chairmanship. The agenda for the round focused on market access. The first two days have been devoted to presentation by participants of their revised offers.

The document on the revised offer of the European Union in the context of the TiSA negotiations, that was also distributed online, in line with The EC commitment to transparency, contains a schedule of EU specific commitments in trade in services and a list of exemptions from the Most Favoured Nation (MFN) treatment, according to which a country must receive equal trade advantages as the most favoured nation by the country granting such treatment. 

After the round of talks, EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström chaired a meeting in Paris with 22 fellow ministers involved in the negotiations for TiSA. Participants discussed the recently exchanged revised offers and the general progress towards conclusion of a new agreement. 

"The recent revised offers and the work done so far represent real improvement, but we certainly still need more ambition. The EU is ready to go an additional mile but everyone needs to join if we want to achieve an agreement able to shape the global economy of the 21st century."  said Malmström.

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TiSA in a nutshell

The Trade in Services Agreement is a trade agreement currently being negotiated by 23 members of the World Trade Organisation (WTO): Australia, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, the European Union, Hong Kong China, Iceland, Israel, Japan, Korea, Liechtenstein, Mauritius, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Pakistan, Panama, Peru, Switzerland, Taiwan, Turkey and the United States. Together, the participating countries account for 70% of world trade in services

TiSA is based on the WTO's General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS), which involves all WTO members. The key provisions of the GATS – scope, definitions, market access, national treatment and exemptions – are also found in TiSA.

The talks are based on proposals made by the participants. TiSA aims at opening up markets and improving rules in areas such as:

  • licensing,
  • financial services,
  • telecoms,
  • e-commerce,
  • maritime transport,
  • professionals moving abroad temporarily to provide services.

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