Talks on a Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA), with countries representing 70% of world trade in services, should give EU firms more opportunities to provide services, such as transport and telecoms, in third countries. At the same time, EU public services and audiovisual services should not be opened up to competition, say MEPs in draft recommendations to be debated on Monday and voted on Wednesday.
In their draft recommendations to the European Commission, which is negotiating the deal on behalf of the EU, MEPs want to ensure that the TiSA deal does not prevent EU and member states’ authorities from making laws in the public interest, notably on labour and data protection. The text, drafted by Viviane Reding (EPP, LU) also reiterates that the European Parliament will have the final say on whether to approve or reject a TiSA deal.
Negotiations for a Trade in Services Agreement, under way since April 2013, aim to enhance international rules in sectors such as financial, digital and transport services. Participants now include 23 WTO Members, who together account for 70% of global trade in services.
Barriers to EU service providers’ market access, if translated into equivalent tariffs, amount to 15 % for Canada, 16 % for Japan, 25 % for South Korea, 44 % for Turkey and 68 % for China, whereas in the EU, the tariff equivalent of service supply restrictions for foreign operators is only 6 %.
The EU is the world’s largest exporter of services, accounting for 25% of the world total. Services employ close to 70% of the EU labour force and represent 40% of the value of goods exported from Europe.
The 23 parties taking part in the TiSA negotiations are Australia; Canada; Chile; Taiwan; Colombia; Costa Rica; the EU; Hong Kong; Iceland; Israel; Japan; Liechtenstein; Mauritius; Mexico; New Zealand; Norway; Pakistan; Panama; Peru; South Korea; Switzerland; Turkey; and the USA.
Procedure: Non-legislative resolution
Debate: Monday 1 February
Vote: Wednesday 3 February
Press conference: Wednesday 3 February, 14.30