Informal discussions

Joint Initiative Joint Initiative on Services Domestic Regulation

On 2 December 2021, 67 WTO members adopted a Declaration announcing the successful conclusion of negotiations on services domestic regulation aimed at increasing transparency, predictability and efficiency of authorization procedures for service providers hoping to do business in foreign markets.

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Participation

The following * participants are committed to delivering an outcome in the Joint Initiative on Services Domestic Regulation:
.

Participation in this Joint Initiative is open to all WTO members. The Initiative is coordinated by Mr Jaime Coghi Arias (Costa Rica).

* Counting the European Union and its 27 member states as 27 participants

Objective

Building upon work undertaken in the Working Party on Domestic Regulation, a group of WTO members established in December 2017 the Joint Initiative on Services Domestic Regulation, with the aim of developing disciplines to facilitate services trade and to mitigate the unintended trade-restrictive effects of measures relating to licensing requirements and procedures, qualification requirements and procedures, and technical standards.

Background

In December 2017, 59 WTO members issued a Joint Statement on Services Domestic Regulation, affirming their commitment to advance negotiations on domestic regulation of trade in services.

In May 2019, 59 WTO members welcomed the progress made in the negotiations  in a second Joint Statement on Services Domestic Regulation, and committed to continue working on outstanding issues and finalize negotiations by the 12th Ministerial Conference.

On 27 September 2021, participants finalized their text-based negotiations. The disciplines agreed by the participants are detailed in the Reference Paper on Services Domestic Regulation. The disciplines focus mainly on the transparency, predictability and effectiveness of procedures that businesses have to comply with to obtain authorization to supply their services. They have been designed to apply to all sectors where participants have undertaken commitments in their schedules for trade in services.

Next steps

The participants intend to incorporate the disciplines on services domestic regulation contained in the Reference Paper as “additional commitments” in their schedules of specific commitments.

They aim to submit their draft schedules incorporating the disciplines for certification (S/L/84) by the end of 2022, subject to the completion of any required domestic procedures.

The participants intend to continue holding regular open-ended meetings of the Initiative to reflect on the way forward, including necessary steps towards starting certification procedures.

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