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TiSA to open up new markets for EU services

Posted by Nick Prag at 04 February 2016, 23:25 CET |
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Compared to other trade deals, the talks on a Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA) have had a pretty smooth ride. TiSA came to the fore this week when Euro-MPs in plenary set out their guidelines for the deal to the Commission, which is negotiating on the EU's behalf.

Negotiations on TiSA between 23 members of the World Trade Organization have been under way since April 2013, with the aim of further liberalising trade in services.

The 23 WTO members represent 70 per cent of world trade in services. TiSA will establish global minimum requirements for trade in sectors such as financial, digital and transport services.

The Commission's aim is to deliver international rules and more opportunities for European firms to supply services in third countries.

The MEPs' main directive was that TiSA should deliver a deal that eases EU firms' access to international markets, but also one that does not force EU, national and local authorities to open up public services to competition, or otherwise restrict their right to regulate in public interest.

Viviane Reding MEP, Parliament's rapporteur, welcomed the vote as a breakthrough, saying it would “change the orientation of EU trade policy, in the interest of EU companies and consumers alike."

A TiSA agreement can have a big impact in Europe. The EU is the largest exporter of services, with 25 per cent of services exports from the world coming from the EU. And within the EU, 70 per cent of EU jobs are derived from services.

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Nick Prag

Nick Prag

Nick Prag is founder and managing editor of Prior to EUbusiness, he was senior editor at Europe Online SA in Luxembourg, where he played a major part in the launch of Europe Online International.