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Developing Trade Rules for Services: A Case of Fragmented Coherence?


Panagiotis Delimatsis


Tilburg Law and Economics Center (TILEC); Tilburg Law School

Nicolas F. Diebold


Swiss Competition Commission, Secretariat

Martin Molinuevo


NCCR - World Trade Institute

Marion Panizzon


University of Bern Law School - World Trade Institute

Pierre Sauvé


World Trade Institute

September 1, 2009

NCCR Trade Regulation Working Paper No. 38

Abstract:     
This paper presents the results of a four-year project tackling several issues relating to multilateral and preferential trade in services. One of the underlying organising principles of our research on services trade has been a presumed fault line between the innate coherence that is achieved through multilateral rules and commitments, on the one side, and the more inherently fragmented nature of preferential solutions or rules, on the other. Doubtlessly rooted in the way mainstream trade theorists and economists more broadly have long championed multilateralism over its peripheral brethren, such a perception proceeds from the assumed second-best nature of preferential, or non-WTO-centric, policy and rule-making approaches. Our key messages put forward concrete proposals to improve regulation of services trade. We find, inter alia, that: a) fragmentation is a source of policy and innovation apt to inform multilateral rule-making, while theatres at the periphery may yield superior outcomes or more politically palatable bargains; b) the adoption of a necessity test applicable across services sectors at the multilateral level would improve the quality of services trade regulation domestically; c) the current treatment of labour mobility under GATS is not conducive to an optimal global governance of migration; d) when examing likeness, both service-related and supplier-related factors have to be considered to decide whether there is competitive relationship in the marketplace; e) Overlapping multilateral and bilateral rules on investment blur the rights and obligations of domestic authorities and foreign investors in services; f) co-ordination between the WTO and arbitral panels so that similar principles are intepreted in a uniform manner can lead to a more coherent international investment framework in services.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 31

Keywords: World Trade Organization (WTO), General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS), Trade in Services, Preferential Trade Agreements (PTAs), domestic regulation, likeness, labour mobility, investment

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Date posted: September 11, 2009  

Suggested Citation

Delimatsis, Panagiotis and Diebold, Nicolas F. and Molinuevo, Martin and Panizzon, Marion and Sauvé, Pierre, Developing Trade Rules for Services: A Case of Fragmented Coherence? (September 1, 2009). NCCR Trade Regulation Working Paper No. 38. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1472053 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1472053

Contact Information

Panagiotis Delimatsis (Contact Author)
Tilburg Law and Economics Center (TILEC) ( email )
Warandelaan 2
Postbus 90153
Tilburg, NL-5000 LE
Netherlands
0031 13 466 8251 (Phone)
0031 13 466 8047 (Fax)
HOME PAGE: http://www.tilburguniversity.nl/webwijs/show/?uid=p.delimatsis
Tilburg Law School
Warandelaan 2
Postbus 90153
Tilburg, 5000 LE
Netherlands
Nicolas F. Diebold
Swiss Competition Commission, Secretariat ( email )
Monbijoustrasse 43
Bern, 3003
Switzerland
Martin Molinuevo
NCCR - World Trade Institute ( email )
Hallerstrasse 6/8
Berne, CH-3012
Switzerland
Marion Panizzon
University of Bern Law School - World Trade Institute ( email )
World Trade Institute
Hallerstrasse 6
Bern, CH-3012
Switzerland
++41 1 31 631 5489 (Phone)
++41 31 631 3630 (Fax)
HOME PAGE: http://www.nccr-trade.org
Pierre Sauvé
World Trade Institute
Hallerstrasse 6
Berne, 3012
Switzerland
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