How to include ’Mode 5’ services commitments in bilateral free trade agreements and at multilateral stage?

11-07-2018

Mode 5 refers to services which are incorporated into goods which are then traded across international borders. Unlike traditional services, Mode 5 services are not subject to the existing international trade regime under the WTO General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS). Rather, they are subject to trade rules under the framework that governs trade in goods. As a consequence, trade in Mode 5 services is not fully liberalised, even though liberalisation would be in the best interest of international trade and the European Union. This report explores different avenues for including Mode 5 service commitments in multilateral trade agreements and free trade agreements, analyzing benefits and associated challenges. The broad conclusion is that while it may be possible to pursue Mode 5 options at the multilateral level, the most viable immediate strategy would consist in including such commitments in free trade agreements between the EU and its trading partners.

Mode 5 refers to services which are incorporated into goods which are then traded across international borders. Unlike traditional services, Mode 5 services are not subject to the existing international trade regime under the WTO General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS). Rather, they are subject to trade rules under the framework that governs trade in goods. As a consequence, trade in Mode 5 services is not fully liberalised, even though liberalisation would be in the best interest of international trade and the European Union. This report explores different avenues for including Mode 5 service commitments in multilateral trade agreements and free trade agreements, analyzing benefits and associated challenges. The broad conclusion is that while it may be possible to pursue Mode 5 options at the multilateral level, the most viable immediate strategy would consist in including such commitments in free trade agreements between the EU and its trading partners.