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Prospects for Services Trade Negotiations

  • Jeffrey J. Schott

    ()

    (Peterson Institute for International Economics)

  • Minsoo Lee

    (Asian Development Bank)

  • Julia Muir

    ()

    (Peterson Institute for International Economics)

Trade and investment in services are difficult to measure, and the regulatory barriers that inhibit the free flow of services are hard to quantify. As a result, very little attention has been paid to dismantling barriers to services trade and investment in free trade negotiations. This paper examines what has been achieved in both regional and multilateral compacts by surveying international precedents involving Asian countries which have included services trade reforms. We then assess the prospects for services trade negotiations and explore how services trade negotiations could be pursued over the next decade through two distinct channels: the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and a plurilateral approach among groups of WTO countries. We find that in the case of developing Asia, free trade agreements have largely excluded services or have only committed to "lock in" current practices in a narrow subset of service sectors. This is also the case in agreements negotiated between developing countries, which have produced less substantial commitments to liberalize services than those negotiated between developing and developed countries. Multilateral negotiations on services have also underperformed, as substantive negotiations on services in the Doha Round never really got underway. We advocate a stronger effort by developing Asian countries to prioritize services negotiations in their regional arrangements, and to expand coverage of services in those pacts to a broad range of infrastructure services that are included in other FTAs in force or under construction in the Asia-Pacific region.

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Paper provided by Peterson Institute for International Economics in its series Working Paper Series with number WP12-17.

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Date of creation: Oct 2012
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Handle: RePEc:iie:wpaper:wp12-17
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  1. Gary Clyde Hufbauer & Jeffrey J. Schott & Woan Foong Wong, 2010. "Figuring Out the Doha Round," Peterson Institute Press: Policy Analyses in International Economics, Peterson Institute for International Economics, number pa91, 03.
  2. Peter A. Petri & Michael G. Plummer & Fan Zhai, 2012. "The Trans-Pacific Partnership and Asia-Pacific Integration: A Quantitative Assessment," Peterson Institute Press: All Books, Peterson Institute for International Economics, number 6642, May.
  3. Ben Shepherd & Gloria Pasadilla, 2012. "Services as a New Engine of Growth for ASEAN, the People’s Republic of China, and India," Governance Working Papers 23290, East Asian Bureau of Economic Research.
  4. Lionel Fontagné & Amélie Guillin & Cristina Mitaritonna, 2011. "Estimations of Tariff Equivalents for the Services Sectors," Working Papers 2011-24, CEPII research center.
  5. Gary Clyde Hufbauer & J. Bradford Jensen & Sherry Stephenson & Julia Muir & Martin Vieiro, 2012. "Framework for the International Services Agreement," Policy Briefs PB12-10, Peterson Institute for International Economics.
  6. Jeffrey J. Schott, 2007. "The Korea-US Free Trade Agreement: A Summary Assessment," Policy Briefs PB07-7, Peterson Institute for International Economics.
  7. Arunanondchai, Jutamas & Fink, Carsten, 2007. "Trade in health services in the ASEAN region," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4147, The World Bank.
  8. Jeffrey J. Schott, 2011. "What Should the United States Do about Doha?," Policy Briefs PB11-8, Peterson Institute for International Economics.
  9. Jeffrey J. Schott, 2010. "KORUS FTA 2.0: Assessing the Changes," Policy Briefs PB10-28, Peterson Institute for International Economics.
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