Analytical Note, January 2005

Classification in Services: An Overview of the Main Issues for Developing Countries.

The main objective of this paper is to provide an overview of the main issues related to classification within the context of the services negotiations and to assist developing countries in understanding the implications.

The paper will provide background on the status of the use of the Services Sectoral Classification List (MTN.GNS/W/120 – referred to as the W120) and the UN Provisional Central Product Classification (referred to as the CPC) and an update of current discussions on classification issues within the Committee on Specific Commitments (CSC). This is followed by a summary of the main approaches used within existing proposals and their implications. Finally, the lessons from recent examples of dispute settlement cases in which classification issues featured, are highlighted. In light of the implications, the paper concludes with a summary of points on areas where developing countries may wish to focus their efforts in the context of classification issues.

This paper will provide an analysis of the broader issues and implications at stake with regard to classification issues from a development perspective, rather than a technical analysis of the proposals or the sectors/sub-sectors in which classification proposals have been made.

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