The chair said that headway would be possible if negotiating demands were realistic, if leadership was exercised, and if balance, flexibility and development considerations were duly taken into account. He called on negotiators to move towards specific proposals and to focus on both process and content.
What to negotiate
Ambassador Cima said three priority areas for work had emerged from previous discussions among members: domestic regulation of services, e-commerce and market access.
Many delegations welcomed recent proposals in the Working Party on Domestic Regulation and the intensification of negotiations. These negotiations relate to qualification requirements and procedures for service providers, technical standards and licensing requirements. Some members also referred to services trade facilitation, on which a proposal was submitted in early October, as an area of interest.
Services aspects of e-commerce were highlighted by several delegations as a negotiating priority as services play such an important role in this area.
Some members indicated a readiness to resume market access negotiations. A number of delegations said that progress was long overdue because commitments under the WTO's General Agreement on Trade in Services have not kept pace with trade opening that has occurred around the world.
Several developing countries reiterated the need for flexibilities for developing and least-developed countries, stressing the importance of balance across negotiating areas and underscoring the importance of development considerations. The chair said that negotiating work could progress if members combined their readiness to engage with due consideration for the needs of developing countries and for balance.
The next services meetings are scheduled for 24-25 November.