Trade in Services Agreement (TISA)

Canada is participating in negotiations towards a Trade in Services Agreement (TISA). The objective of the Agreement will be to enhance trade in services and improve 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 2015—nearly two-thirds of the world’s economy.

Negotiations were launched in March 2013. There are 23 Members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) participating: 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 Parties have agreed to welcome other WTO Members to join the negotiations provided they share the objectives of the group. A final agreement envisages an accession process to allow other WTO Members to join in the future.

Canada is participating in the TISA negotiations in order to promote and advance the interests of Canada’s services industry. The services industry includes sectors such as telecommunications services, financial services, computer services, retail distribution services, transportation services, environmental services, express delivery services, energy services and professional services (e.g. accounting, legal services, architecture and engineering).

Recent Developments

TISA Ministers met in Paris on June 1, 2016, to assess the progress in market access discussions and reaffirmed the intent to conclude the negotiations by the end of the year. Ministers instructed negotiators to further intensify their efforts as the negotiations enter the end-game phase.

At the most recent round of negotiations, held from July 8 through 18, 2016, Parties conducted a stocktaking session to assess the level of progress on all issues. Negotiating sessions were also held in an effort to stabilize the more advanced annexes which include domestic regulation, transparency, financial services, electronic commerce, and telecommunications. The stocktaking supported efforts to establish a work plan to respond to Ministerial direction to conclude the negotiations by the end of the year.

Three more rounds are planned for 2016, including the 19th round which will begin September 19 and run through September 25. Parties will also be working towards a deadline of late October for the tabling of final market access offers.