Services

Negotiations on services should bring considerable and real market opportunities for business as well as benefits to consumers both in the EU and world-wide. Services indeed represent roughly three-quarters of EU GDP and employment, and around one fourth of the EU's total exports. Contrary to agriculture and non-agricultural market access, services negotiations are not formula-based, but take place through the exchange of “requests” and “offers” in a process that is essentially bilateral in nature. Nevertheless, the results will at the end be extended to all members through the Most Favoured Nation (MFN) principle. Beyond this principle, commitments are fully flexible and vary from one country to the other one. Negotiations consist in convincing our WTO partners to expand the sectoral coverage of their commitments. The EU does not seek general deregulation or privatisation of sectors where principles of public interest are at stake, and the EU also defends the right of WTO members to promote cultural diversity. So far, two exchanges of offers took place respectively in 2003 and 2005, as well as a "signalling conference" in 2009 (see state of play of the DDA services negotiations).

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