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.

Fifteen rounds of negotiations have taken place in Geneva since the negotiations were launched in March 2013. Five more rounds are planned for 2016. A TISA Ministerial Meeting was held in Davos, Switzerland on the margins of the World Economic Forum on January 23, 2016. Ministers reaffirmed their intent to conclude the TISA negotiations by the end of the year. As a result, negotiators used the February round to stabilize key articles in the more advanced texts namely e-commerce, localization, telecommunications, financial services, and movement of natural persons). Negotiators also updated the work plan, established at the October 2015 round, to set milestones and objectives for the remaining rounds. The revised work plan requires TISA Parties to table revised market access offers by early May and to stabilize the more advanced texts by July. The February round also served as an opportunity for Parties to meet bilaterally to discuss their respective market access offers.

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).