Services Trade: Making it Work for Low- and Lower-Middle Income Countries

Thursday, October 2, 2015

This outreach event at the WTO Public Forum presented emerging findings from the project “Support to Enhance Development of Trade in Services Negotiations”, underscoring the importance of services data collection and analysis and inclusive institutional mechanisms.

Services represent an increasing share of trade and, while developing countries are willing to be part of the game, their participation in services trade negotiations is faced with many challenges. For instance, they find it difficult to assess competitiveness in Mode4 and hence difficult for us to develop related negotiating positions, since data on this Mode is not captured in existing datasets. The joint project by ILEAP, CUTS and the University of Sussex’s CARIS shed light on some of the good practices for improving data collection and analysis on services. These related to the use of firm-level surveys, availability and quality of human capital, diversification of data sources, and external support among others. The need for functioning institutional and stakeholder interaction mechanisms to support decision-making was another critical factor identified in recent studies by CUTS International.

Programme

  • Chair: Deanna Easton, Counsellor, Permanent Mission of Australia to the WTO

Presentations

  • Good Practices on Trade in Services Data Collection and Analysis.By Anirudh Shingal, Senior Research Fellow, World Trade Institute, University of Bern & Research Associate, CARIS, University of Sussex
  • Trade in Services: What Makes Successful Institutional Mechanisms?By Julian Mukiibi, Senior Programme Officer, CUTS International, Geneva

Panel Discussion

  • Developing Countries’ Challenges in Trade in Services Policy-Making and Negotiations. By Abid Khan, Minister, Bangladesh Mission to the UN, WTO and Other International Organisations in Geneva
  • Diagnosing Services Export Potential. Mina Mashayekhi, Head, Trade Negotiations and Commercial diplomacy Branch, UNCTAD

 

Floor Discussion

Key Questions

  • What are common challenges faced by LDCs, LICs and LMICs in promoting trade in services policy-making and negotiations?
  • In what areas and activities can these countries realistically develop and exploit new export opportunities? How can value chain concepts assist in determining them?
  • How have more successful countries addressed these challenges? Are there good performers to learn from among LDCs, LICs and LMICs?
  • How can the collection, analysis and use of service-related data be realistically improved? What data should informed decisions rely on?
  • How can diagnostic tools better identify and target services-specific constraints to unlock latent potential?
  • What kind of institutional mechanisms are most appropriate for effective policy-making and negotiations?
  • What should be the roles of the private sector and civil society therein?