Policy Brief 10, August 2007

Why Inclusion of Services in the EPAS is Problematic: Legal and Development Implications.

Regional Trade Agreements (RTAs) are an important instrument in international trade. RTAs create bigger markets through reduction or elimination of tariff and non-tariff barriers to trade between members. Traditionally, these Agreements have focused on the liberalization of merchandise trade among members.

However, new trends show inclusion of services. Examples include the Chile, Singapore Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) with the US, and the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which have provisions allowing temporary entry of business professionals into member countries to facilitate trade in services. The Southern African Development Community (SADC) has been negotiating a draft protocol on energy, transport, telecommunication and other services. Among the roughly 153 RTAs operational in the world today, 43 are economic integration agreements notified under the WTO’s General Agreement on Trade in Services’ (GATS) Article V. Increase in coverage of services makes RTAs an important tool in harmonizing regulation, and enhancing market access.

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