Trade in services
28. One of the commitments of the Doha Declaration
was to pursue negotiations on trade in services with the aim of
promoting the economic growth of all trading partners. We fully
support the idea that countries should open their service markets
to external competition as we consider that both developed and
developing countries stand to gain from this. For developing countries
such as India who have a growing service sector, liberalisation
of global markets in services is a great opportunity.
29. For the EU, agreements on trade in services
also represent also a significant potential gain for Member States'
as 69% of the EU's economy
is currently classified as part of the service sector. From the
EU's point of view, agreements on services and NAMA are crucial
to a balanced outcome from the Doha Round. As the Minister told
us, "it is important for the EU that we see a balanced outcome
to the negotiations. It is not just an agricultural roundalthough
agriculture is the key to unlocking a successful conclusionit
is imperative that we do see progress on services and NAMA and
trade rules" (Q 9).
30. We note the concerns raised with us that
an agreement on trade in services appears unlikely at Hong Kong.
However, opening up service markets remains a vital aspect of
a successful outcome from the Doha Round. We therefore urge
countries to secure a commitment at Hong Kong to a date by which
revised best and final offers on trade in services will be tabled.
Commitment to Doha: Multilateral
versus bilateral and plurilateral agreements
31. In our previous report we received evidence
questioning whether a multilateral (viz. WTO) approach to trade
agreements was the best way to proceed. We concluded that, whilst
prioritising progress in the WTO forum was indeed the best way
forward, it was not necessarily contradictory to pursue bilateral
negotiations at the same time. These bilateral agreements, we
felt, could add value but would not replace the multilateral approach,
which includes both the weak and the strong, and through which
greater gains have been achieved and are achievable in the future.
32. We continue to believe that governments
should strongly pursue multilateral arrangements. Were the Doha
Round to break down, this would bring serious pressure to bear
on governments to pursue bilateral and regional agreements as
a way forward. It would be a paradox if a breakdown of the Doha
Round were to lead to bilateral agreements between the major trading
blocks from which the developing countries would be excluded to
their detriment. We therefore urge all WTO members to work for
a successful outcome to the Hong Kong Ministerial as a very high
1 Our Common Interest, Report of the Commission
for Africa, March 2005 Back
Q 9 Back