JOINT STATEMENT ON SERVICES DOMESTIC REGULATION

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Kazakhstan said its draft schedule submitted earlier this year indicated how the proposed disciplines would be incorporated in its WTO commitments. In addition to playing an important role for services industries and businesses, Kazakhstan noted, the disciplines seek to create a predictable business climate and transparent procedures for trade in services. A total of 56 other participants have submitted draft schedules.

In an effort to streamline procedures required for services suppliers to operate, remove red tape and enhance transparency and predictability of regulatory frameworks, the negotiations aim to reduce the costs of doing business and facilitate businesses' participation in international services trade.

The idea of holding an information exchange on the implementation of domestic regulation disciplines was widely welcomed at the meeting. Delegations' experiences at both the national and regional levels could be explored.

A group of 63 WTO members (1) — both developing and developed countries — is currently taking part in the negotiations, accounting for over 70% of world services trade. At the meeting, participants reiterated the importance of reaching out to other WTO members to expand the number of participants and secure wider coverage for the final outcome. Some delegations also called for engaging ministers by mid- 2021 to resolve outstanding issues and for defining a clear path to help conclude the negotiations by MC12.

A “far advanced” negotiating text was circulated by the Chair, Jaime Coghi Arias of Costa Rica, in December, capturing the progress made in 2020 in developing disciplines applying to licensing and qualification requirements and procedures, as well as technical standards for trade in services. The text contains flexibilities to help governments implement the measures domestically and regulate according to their national policy objectives.

Watch the video message the chair delivered after the meeting here.

Background

Ministers from 59 WTO members launched negotiations at the 11th Ministerial Conference held in December 2017 in Buenos Aires. In May 2019, ministers meeting on the side lines of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development meetings confirmed their commitment to deliver a meaningful outcome by the 12th Ministerial Conference . The meetings are member-driven, transparent and open to all WTO members.

Each WTO member's schedule of commitments can be accessed here. The list of all sectors covered by the GATS can be found here.

Next meetings

The next meetings are scheduled for 4 March, 14 April and 10 May.

Notes:

  1. Albania; Argentina; Australia; Austria; Belgium; Brazil; Bulgaria; Canada; Chile; China; Colombia; Costa Rica; Croatia; Cyprus; Czech Republic; Denmark; El Salvador; Estonia; European Union; Finland; France; Germany; Greece; Hong Kong, China; Hungary; Iceland; Ireland; Israel; Italy; Japan; Kazakhstan; Korea, Republic of; Latvia; Liechtenstein; Lithuania; Luxembourg; Malta; Mauritius; Mexico; Moldova, Republic of; Montenegro; Netherlands; New Zealand; Nigeria; North Macedonia; Norway; Paraguay; Peru; Poland; Portugal; Romania; Russian Federation; Saudi Arabia, Kingdom of; Slovak Republic; Slovenia; Spain; Sweden; Switzerland; Separate Customs Territory of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu; Thailand; Turkey; Ukraine; United Kingdom; and Uruguay. back to text

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