19 May 2011
Mapping the Universe of Services Disciplines in Asian PTAs
NCCR Working Paper No 2011/34 by Rupa Chanda
This paper analyses the relationship and dynamics between multilateral and regional or preferential trade rules and commitments in services in a sample of eight PTAs involving Asian countries. It examines the evolving universe of rules and negotiating architectures in services and the extent to which PTAs have gone beyond the GATS. (S–S) agreements. The analysis reveals that although countries tend to commit more sectors and subsectors under PTAs than under the GATS, these commitments are not deeper within subsectors or modes and that they tend to be less liberal than the existing policies. Where PTAs improve upon the GATS is in terms of their overall architecture as they include additional chapters and annexes which go into considerable detail on a variety of cross-cutting, sector specific, and emerging issues. The analysis suggests that North–North agreements tend to cover some of the more difficult issues such as government procurement, while North–South agreements have a focus on issues such as recognition of qualifications which relate to the importance of mode 4 in North–South services trade. South–South agreements tend to focus on institutional cooperation and establishment of mechanisms, reflecting the need for strengthening capacity and institution building in these countries. However, overall, there is considerable diversity among PTAs, which do not follow a uniform pattern, indicating that the negotiating dynamics vary by partner countries and across PTAs.