This outreach event held at the WTO on May 6, 2015 raised awareness amongst the Geneva trade and development community, notably WTO Delegates, about the series of project interventions on trade in services being jointly undertaken by ILEAP, CUTS International Geneva and the University of Sussex s CARIS.
In his opening remarks, the Chairperson H .E . Dr . Syed Tauqir Hussain Shah, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Pakistan to the WTO, acknowledged the services shift within the global economy and its game-changing potential for developing countries.
David Primack, Executive Director of ILEAP, introduced the project and offered insights into some of the emerging lessons and good practices on service trade statistics compilation. Emphasis was put on identifying interim methodologies and approaches aligned with the available capacities of statistical agencies and central banks in LICs and LDCs.
He was followed by Julian Mukiibi of CUTS International Geneva, who shared the project`s preliminary findings on elements for effective institutional mechanisms based on country scenarios (download presentation). Such effective and inclusive mechanisms were identified as key to the better articulation of national interests in future agreements that will promote a cohesive national policy that informs negotiating positions for trade in services.
Finally, Julien Grollier of CUTS International Geneva introduced a newly-launched one-stop-shop web portal on trade in services (http://www.tradeinservices.net). This information hub provides policy makers and negotiators with trade in services research, news, resources, training materials, as well as a forum for information exchange.
The event also offered an opportunity for the Geneva trade in services community to discuss more generally potential future needs of LDCs, LICs, and LMICs. Main points raised by the participants included:
- Engaging with sectoral regulators to collect the data that may be available with them; Creating synergies through collaboration with organisations like UNCTAD; Finding ways to include and address issues related to trade in services by the informal sector;
- Helping LDCs, LICs and LMICs face the challenges that are being identified in the case studies under the project;
- Critical need of raising general awareness among policy makers, regulators, businesses and other stakeholders about issues surrounding trade in services through advocacy;
- The importance of better understanding the gender dimension of services trade and the relevance for negotiations; and
- The need to raise awareness amongst the general public, alongside key stakeholders, on the pervasiveness of services in the items consumed in daily life.