A Handbook on Negotiating Preferential Trade Agreements: Services Liberalization

A Handbook on Negotiating Preferential Trade Agreements: Services Liberalization

 
Date: 
Monday, July 1, 2013
Type: 
Public information and advocacy materials
ISBN: 
978-974-680-355-7
Abstract

Although the share of Asia-Pacific as a whole in global exports and imports of commercial services rose to almost 30 per cent in 2012, trade in services is still relatively less important than exports of merchandise. Services entered multilateral trade rules through the negotiation of the Uruguay Round of GATT, and were supposed to be deepened and enhanced with the establishment of the World Trade Organization and the continued evolution of the General Agreement on Trade in Services. However the stalled Doha Development Agenda negotiations affected services in the same way as other areas under the multilateral regime (in fact, no progress has been made since 1995). However, given the importance of services for production and trade, the policymakers then changed tracks and started to place the services trade liberalization into the preferential trade agreements. As a result, building capacity to conduct the preferential services trade negotiations became an urgent priority for many developing economies in the region. Building this capacity is even more complex than in case of general trade policy formulation and negotiations due to the high heterogeneity of services activities and the many actors involved in provision and consumption of services.
This handbook is a practical introduction to preparing to negotiate preferential trade agreements. It is aimed particularly at those who may not have extensive negotiating experience, and it seeks to explain the main steps needed to arrive at an agreement, make it enter into force and monitor its implementation. One special value of this handbook is in its coverage of the preparatory stages for negotiations. Moreover, given the lack of resources and capacity in most developing (and especially least developed) countries to address these concerns, this handbook offers ideas and presents the experiences of other countries (often those that are well versed and successful in this area) as well as opportunities arising from utilization of Aid for Trade in this context. The handbook is one of a series of publications that have been issued by ESCAP to be used as guides and manuals in policymaking. It is hoped that this latest handbook, as the other similar publications, will become a lasting reference and
inspiration-builder for policymakers in the region.

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