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Multilateralising Regionalism: How Preferential Are Services Commitments in Regional Trade Agreements?

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Author Info

  • Sébastien Miroudot
  • Jehan Sauvage
  • Marie Sudreau

Abstract

This report examines services schedules of commitments in 56 regional trade agreements (RTAs) where an OECD country is a party. The preferential content of RTAs is assessed through an analysis of market access and national treatment commitments at the level of the 155 sub-sectors of the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) Sectoral Classification List. Partial commitments are broken down according to nine categories of non-conforming measures. The report confirms that on average RTAs in services go beyond GATS with commitments in about 72% of sub-sectors, among which 42% correspond to preferential bindings (GATS-plus commitments). In addition, the report provides an overview of rules of origin for services providers and MFN clauses in services chapters in order to see whether commitments granted might be extended to non-parties to minimise discrimination among foreign services suppliers. Despite the heterogeneity found in schedules of commitments, there is a certain degree of commonality in new and improved commitments that suggests that multilateralising RTAs is achievable. The multilateralisation of services commitments would however imply a more symmetric and systematic liberalisation than what is seen in the schedules of RTAs. In the end, this is a matter of political will and negotiations.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by OECD Publishing in its series OECD Trade Policy Papers with number 106.

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Date of creation: 06 Dec 2010
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Handle: RePEc:oec:traaab:106-en

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Related research

Keywords: services; market access; RTA; GATS; MFN; free trade agreements; multilateralisation; regional trade agreements; preferential trade agreements; commitments; national treatment; rules of origin;

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Cited by:
  1. Bernard M. Hoekman & Aaditya Mattoo, 2013. "Liberalizing Trade in Services: Lessons from Regional and WTO Negotiations," RSCAS Working Papers 2013/34, European University Institute.
  2. Bernard M. Hoekman & Petros C. Mavroidis, 2013. "WTO 'à la carte' or WTO 'menu du jour'? Assessing the case for Plurilateral Agreements," RSCAS Working Papers 2013/58, European University Institute.
  3. Miroudot, Sebastien & Shepherd, Ben, 2012. "The paradox of “preferences”: regional trade agreements and trade costs in services," MPRA Paper 41090, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  4. Shingal, Anirudh & Sauvé, Pierre, 2011. "Reflections on the Preferential Liberalization of Services Trade," MPRA Paper 32816, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  5. United Nations ESCAP (ed.), 2011. "Asia-Pacific Trade and Investment Report 2011: Post-crisis trade and investment opportunities," STUDIES IN TRADE AND INVESTMENT, United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), number aptir2596.

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