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. 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, fourteen rounds of negotiations have taken place in Geneva and five more rounds are planned for 2016. TISA parties tabled initial offers at the end of 2013 in an effort to intensify the market access aspect of the negotiations. Parallel efforts continued with respect to text-based negotiations on the various proposals for new and enhanced disciplines.

During the December 2015 round, discussions focused on the more advanced texts namely transparency, domestic regulation, financial services, and movement of natural persons. Over the course of the round, Parties worked towards the collective goal to further stabilize the texts. The December round also served as an opportunity for Parties to meet bilaterally to discuss their respective market access offers and to refine a work plan for future rounds to maintain the momentum and progress made during the round.

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).