A group of 67 World Trade Organization (WTO) members, including the EU, have today concluded negotiations on a landmark agreement to cut red tape in services trade. The so-called Joint Initiative on Services Domestic Regulation will simplify unnecessarily complicated regulations and ease procedural hurdles faced by SMEs in particular. This agreement will help reduce the costs of global services trade by more than USD 150 billion every year.
This is the first WTO deliverable in the area of trade in services in a very long time. Good regulatory practices are crucial for the functioning of today's economy. The clear rules on transparency and authorisation in the area of services agreed as part of this initiative will facilitate trade in services significantly. Especially for small and medium-sized enterprises who do not have the same resources and experience to cope with complex processes as do their larger competitors.
Moreover, the agreement will help the EU with regard to the digital agenda, since sectors such as telecommunications, computer services, engineering, and commercial banking stand to benefit from it. It is also the first time a WTO text includes a binding provision on non-discrimination between men and women.”