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Negotiating Liberalization of Trade in Services for Development

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Services trade policies, in any country, determine the direction of policy reforms and the role which services trade should play in the broader context of growth and development strategies. Regulators, taking guidance from these policies, introduce the regulatory measures that serve the objectives of such policies. National policies and regulations then inform the positions taken by services trade negotiators to achieve outcomes that are supportive of national policy objectives and national development. In fulfilling their responsibilities, policy makers, regulators and negotiators need to be mindful of the multilateral trade rules governing international trade in services and related negotiations. The complexity of the subject matter has often been cited as a challenge. The purpose of this publication is to assist trade policy makers, regulators and trade negotiatorsin considering their decisions regarding trade in services and services development in the overall national development context. It could also be useful for other stakeholders involved or interested in services negotiations and policymaking, including the private sector, researchers and non-governmental organizations. The publication seeks to do so by providing a balanced, objective and sound analysis of the technical and policy issues about the rules and negotiations on trade in services and explore possible ways to address the above-mentioned challenge, especially under the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) of the World Trade Organization (WTO). A brief analysis is also conducted regarding services negotiations in the regional integration context.

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Appendix: Regional integration and liberalization of trade in services

Article V of the GATS, as mentioned earlier, allows preferential services trade agreements among members of the WTO, provided that such agreements comply with the provisions stipulated in that Article. Motivations for concluding such agreements would vary from one case to the other. However, they mostly relate to some or all of the following factors.

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