1 Feb 2017

Azevedo stresses growing importance of services in world trade

Speaking at the launch of the ‘Research Handbook on Trade in Services’, co-edited by Pierre Sauvé of the World Trade Institute, World Trade Organization Director-General Roberto Azevêdo highlighted the increasing contribution of services to world trade.

The launch took place at the WTO on 26 January, the same day as the book was published by Edward Elgar Press.

The new publication brings together contributions from a range of experts who examine the services sector from various economic and legal perspectives. It was presented by Pierre Sauvé and co-editor Martin Roy from the WTO Secretariat.

Other participants included Pakistan’s WTO Ambassador, H.E. Dr. Syed Tauqir Shah, Hamid Mamdouh, Director of the WTO’s Trade in Services and Investment Division, Lee Tuthill from the WTO Secretariat, and Erik van der Marel from the European Centre for International Political Economy (ECIPE).

In his opening remarks, Director-General Azevedo said: “Trade in services, when measured in value added terms, accounts for almost 50% of world trade. Despite this, trade in services is still sometimes regarded as an emerging issue, or something that is only of interest to some countries. This view simply doesn’t reflect the reality today. It seems that we need to update our trade policy software.”

In reference to the work of the WTO, he continued: “On negotiations, transparency and monitoring, disputes, or capacity building, our success depends to a significant degree on our ability to reflect the reality of the trading system, with services playing a major role. It is a key part of trade policies and an essential tool of economic development and connectivity.”

The full text of Azevedo’s speech can be found on the WTO website.