Trade in Services Agreement (TISA)

The Trade in Services Agreement (TISA) is an initiative to further liberalize trade in services through enhanced disciplines and improved market access. 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 Parties exported more than $3.6 trillion in services.

There are 23 Members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) that are participating 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. 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.

Sixteen rounds of negotiations have taken place in Geneva since the negotiations were launched in March 2013.  Four more rounds are planned for 2016.

During the April 2016 round, further progress was made on a number of texts including financial services, movement of natural persons, telecommunications, e-commerce, localization, air transport and maritime transport. The April round also served as an opportunity for Parties to meet bilaterally to discuss their respective market access offers. Revised offers are due May 6th 2016. The seventeenth round, beginning on May 26th running through June 3rd, will focus on market access offers, various annexes, and Parties will turn their attention to discussions on institutional matters.

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).