The Trade in Services Agreement (TISA):An end to negotiations in sight?

12-10-2015

Launched at the beginning of 2013 by a group of World Trade Organisation (WTO) members calling themselves Really Good Friends of Services, negotiations on the plurilateral Trade in Services Agreement (TISA) are nearing an important juncture. The TISA agreement is the biggest free trade agreement currently under discussion when measured by the number of negotiating parties – 23 at present. It is designed to boost liberalisation of the global services sector, moving beyond the current, outdated GATS provisions and unlocking huge economic potential. The EU undoubtedly has important stakes in these negotiations as its economy is highly – and increasingly – dependent on the service sector. However, there remain several obstacles to the successful completion of the agreement and its effective WTO integration, with the most important of these being the inclusion of more WTO members among the signatories – and the hearts and minds of citizens.

Launched at the beginning of 2013 by a group of World Trade Organisation (WTO) members calling themselves Really Good Friends of Services, negotiations on the plurilateral Trade in Services Agreement (TISA) are nearing an important juncture. The TISA agreement is the biggest free trade agreement currently under discussion when measured by the number of negotiating parties – 23 at present. It is designed to boost liberalisation of the global services sector, moving beyond the current, outdated GATS provisions and unlocking huge economic potential. The EU undoubtedly has important stakes in these negotiations as its economy is highly – and increasingly – dependent on the service sector. However, there remain several obstacles to the successful completion of the agreement and its effective WTO integration, with the most important of these being the inclusion of more WTO members among the signatories – and the hearts and minds of citizens.