Trade in Services Agreement (TISA)

The Trade in Services Agreement (TISA) is a major attempt to further liberalize trade in services. TISA members 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 24 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; New Zealand; Norway; Mexico; Pakistan; Panama; Paraguay; Peru; South Korea; Switzerland; Turkey; the United States; and Uruguay. As demonstrated by the addition of Uruguay, TISA participants have agreed to welcome other WTO members that wish to join the negotiations and that share the objectives of the group. Parties have recently agreed to Mauritius’ request to join the Negotiations. 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, twelve rounds of negotiations have taken place in Geneva and two more are planned for 2015. 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 July 2015 round, discussions focused on a number of proposals including transparency, domestic regulations, telecommunication services and e-commerce, financial services, transportation, and movement of natural persons. The July round also served as an opportunity for Parties to assess progress to date and discuss how the TISA should move forward toward in a timely conclusion.

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).

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