Improved schedules of services commitments under the WTO's General Agreement on Trade in Services were submitted for certification by 59 participants(1) in the initiative, accounting for 87 per cent of world services trade. The WTO membership has 45 days to review the improved schedules.  The remaining 10 participants will aim to start their respective certification procedures as soon as possible.

“The launch of certification procedures for such a large number of participants is a real success,” said Jaime Coghi Arias of Costa Rica, the coordinator of the initiative. “It moves us one step closer to giving legal effect to a set of disciplines that will increase transparency and predictability in the regulation of services trade and remove red tape for our business communities. This will in particular help micro, small and medium-sized enterprises and women entrepreneurs.”

The negotiations on services domestic regulation concluded in December 2021 with a Declaration by 69 WTO members noting agreement on new disciplines aimed at cutting administrative costs for service providers. The objective is to mitigate unintended trade-restrictive effects of measures relating to licensing requirements and procedures, qualification requirements and procedures, and technical standards. By encouraging good regulatory practices, these disciplines seek to make the regulatory environment more conducive to business and lower trade costs for services suppliers seeking to access foreign markets.

Research published by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and the WTO has found that the benefits from implementing the new rules on services domestic regulation would result in significant reductions in trade costs of USD 150 billion annually, particularly in some of the most crucial services sectors. Implementation is likely to generate broader trade benefits for economies, such as increased services trade and further participation in global value chains.

Further information on the Joint Initiative on Services Domestic Regulation can be found here.

A new video explaining the outcome on Services Domestic Regulation can be found here.


  1. Albania, Argentina, the Kingdom of Bahrain, Canada, Chile, China, Costa Rica, European Union, Georgia, Hong Kong China, Iceland, Japan, Kazakhstan, Korea, Liechtenstein, Mauritius, Mexico, Moldova, Montenegro, New Zealand, Nigeria, North Macedonia, Norway, Paraguay, Peru, Singapore, Switzerland, Chinese Taipei, Thailand, Ukraine, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, and the United States. back to text




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