Trade in Services Agreement (TISA)

The Trade in Services Agreement (TISA) is a major initiative to further liberalize trade in services. TISA parties represent an enormous services market with nearly 1.6 billion people and a combined GDP of more than $50 trillion in 2013—nearly two-thirds of the world’s economy. In 2013, these countries exported more than $3.6 trillion in services.

There are 23 parties taking part in the TISA negotiations: Australia; Canada; Chile; Chinese Taipei; Colombia; Costa Rica; the European Union; Hong Kong (China); Iceland; Israel; Japan; Liechtenstein; Mauritius; Mexico; New Zealand; Norway; Pakistan; Panama; Peru; South Korea; Switzerland; Turkey; and the United States. As demonstrated by the addition of Mauritius, TISA participants have agreed to welcome other WTO members that wish to join the negotiations and that share the objectives of the group. A final agreement envisages an accession process to allow other WTO members to join in the future.

Since the negotiations were launched in March 2013, thirteen rounds of negotiations have taken place in Geneva and another round is planned for early December 2015. Five more rounds are being planned for 2016. At the end of 2013, the text negotiations were advanced enough to allow the TISA parties to table initial offers. Parties intend to intensify market access negotiations over the next year. During the October 2015 round, discussions focused on a number of proposals including transparency, domestic regulations, telecommunication services and e-commerce, financial services, transportation, delivery services, environmental services, professional services and movement of natural persons. The October Round also served as an opportunity for Parties to agree on a work plan to establish objectives for future rounds and set milestones to progress the negotiations.

The services industry includes sectors such as telecommunications services, financial services, computer services, retail distribution, transportation, environmental services, express delivery, energy services and professional services (e.g. accountants, lawyers, architects and engineers).