PontesVolume 3Número 5 • outubro de 2007

A serviço do desenvolvimento: as negociações sobre o comércio de serviços na OMC


by Gustavo Ribeiro

Make trade services to “money-for-trading” for bargains in agriculture is a strategy that ignores the many benefits of the relationship between services and development. Developing countries (DCs) that have not yet considered this relationship should work for a political negotiation in trade consistent with their long-term interests services.

A service of development at the World Trade Organization (WTO), some developing countries have resorted to the services sector trading strategy as “currency” by other interests, particularly in the area agricultural matters1. This strategy must be questioned as to its risks and consequences.

In general, services translate the notion of intangible activities. An ironic description of The Economist suggested that services “are anything sold that does not fall on your feet” 2. These numerous services are present in our day that we can not postpone to realize its importance. For example, when we light the morning light (energy services), we employ a specific type of transport (transport services) to go to work or school (education services); spent on the bench (fi nancial services); discuss a future project with an engineer (engineering services); phoned (telecommunication services); go to the movies (recreational services) and travel services (tourism).

This short passage illustrates in a simple way the inherent relationship between services and development. If we take the latter in the economic sense, there is some truism in this relationship. The low quality of services such as telecommunications, transportation, fi nancial, ssional profi (accounting, law, engineering, etc.) affect the expansion of an economy because services provide support and effi ciency in the production of goods. Likewise, the lack of access to education and health services inhibit effective participation of much of the population in the economy.

Besides this internal contribution of the sector, the current technological progress allows a wide range of services is provided virtually - which enables their delivery across borders. Certain developing countries, for example, have implemented export services platforms. The most obvious case is the “service industry” of India that covers telemarketing, information technology and medical services. Thus, there is a big chance that a person who suffers an accident at end-of-week in New York has some of his exams examined by a doctor in India. That’s because, in U.S. hospitals, it becomes increasingly expensive to keep a doctor on call for certain specialties during the end-of semana3.

Recent studies reinforce the hypothesis of a direct relationship between services and development. The contribution of services to wealth generation, job creation and export revenue has grown signifi cantly over the past two decades. According to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD, English acronym), 1990-2005, the contribution of the service sector in the Gross Domestic Product of countries increased from 65% to 72% in developed countries and 45 % to 52% in developing countries. This causes 70% of the jobs in a developed country is, today, from the services sector, while this figure is 35% in PEDs4. Such indexes are few more indicative of the importance of strategic negotiations on trade in services.

A brief digression on the WTO negotiations

Negotiations on trade in services began in mid-1970 and were related to the interest of service providers to have access primarily to service the PEDs5 markets.

In 1994, when the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS acronym in English) was signed, it was still unclear how such a set of rules would be implemented, even what are the sectors covered by the GATS. It was only in 1998 that included an indicative list of sectors was concluída6 but doubts lingered as to the application of the provisions of national treatment (NT) and most favored nation (MFN) - arts. II and XVII of the GATS, respectively - to trade in services. This uncertainty, coupled with strong reactions from civil society, “accused the GATS to privatize any and all public sector”, seems to have contributed to the liberalization of services has passed to be discussed with the maximum cautela7.

In 2001, as part of the Doha Round, we proposed a dynamic trading known as “ask-and-bid” (requestand-offer) 8. In this dynamic, for each of the tradable sectors or for each type of service, negotiators barganhariam access to the services market and their respective counter-partes9.

At the end of 2003, the number of liberalization commitments undertaken by Member Communities (EC) were the main applicants for services. To analyze what were the most requested Members, we can hardly find references to developed countries. Among developing countries, the Philippines, Indonesia and Thailand stand out among Asian, Brazil and Argentina among Latin Americans, South Africa and Egypt among africanos12.

With the general suspension of the Doha Round negotiations in July 2006, around disagreements over agriculture, services negotiations lost ground and were only resumed in early 2007. In February this year, two weeks of informal negotiations were conducted in the WTO, but more focused on rules than on market access.

At the meeting in Potsdam, the following June, again disagreements over the elimination of subsidies and domestic support to agriculture stalled any progress in the negotiations on services. Until now, remains a situation of deadlock in negotiations on trade in services.

A prospective look: always “servants”?

One of the essential prerequisites for a party asserts its interests in the results of a negotiation is that it has defi ned goals and priorities. Difficult to derive positive results of chance.

Unlike the largest exporters of services mundo13, which have a direct interest in the negotiations, the service strategy of developing countries, in general, is less clear. As applicants, the number of requests made by developing countries in 2006 was low, except for some specific demands in some sub-sectors, mostly concentrated in the GATS mode 4 (movement of natural persons providing services). In times of immigration restrictions and the “war on terrorism” is unlikely - or unreal - assume that this modality reach greater concessions by developed countries. On the other hand, it is reasonable to expect that the demands on developing countries fied are intensified.

It is not proposed or if you want to establish in this article, what services are somewhat more important than trade in goods or trade in agriculture. The liberalization of agriculture brings undoubtedly immediate benefits for agricultural exporting developing countries. It argues only that the service sector is extremely important in developed economies. Making the service sector only a sector of agriculture with barter is underestimating its relationship with development.

There is therefore a long way to go. For developing countries start to be plaintiffs in services, training services export interests should be created. Moreover, as addressed to “export” services, risk analysis and provides comprehensive benefits fi tune in between frames from regulators and foreign affairs. It is necessary to determine which sectors are the benefits of liberalization and, where liberalization commitments are adopted, which defi ne internal regulatory aspects (relevant) should be preserved.

Gustavo Ribeiro ([email protected]) is a lawyer, a doctoral candidate at Indiana University Bloomington (Capes-Fulbright program). Did a research internship at the UN (NY, 2006) and WTO (Geneva, 2007).

1 Among the developing countries stand out Brazil and Argentina, represented respectively by 4.1% and 2.3% of world exports of agricultural products in 2005, estimated at U.S. $ 852 billion. See WTO. International Trade Statistics 2006. Geneva: 2006, p. 114 (Table IV.8 Leading exporters and importers of agricultural products). Available at: http://www.wto.org/ english/res_e/statis_e/its2006_e/its06_toc_e. htm (September 2007).

2 “Anything sold in trade que Could Not Be dropped on your feet.” This passage of The Economist is found in numerous books and electronic sources, but without reference to the original edition of the magazine. It seems that the phrase has been repeated in the literature and is prior to 1997, the year from which it would be possible to search and find the primary source electronically.

3 Lecture by Prof. Pierre Sauvé (WTI), at the Academy of International Trade (Academy of International Trade Law) held in Macau, July 2007. 4 It is assumed that these factors (wealth generation, job creation and export revenue) are important for the development concept (though not unique) variables. See UNCTAD. “Trade in Services and Development Implications”. Geneva: 2 Feb. 2007. TD/B/COM.1/85 to. 4.

5 Araminta MERCADANTE. “General Agreement on Trade in Services.” Casella & MERCADANTE (Coords.). “Trade war or global integration through trade?” São Paulo: LTR, 1998. p. 413-459.

6 There is a list of twelve large service sectors, which unfold around 160 subsectors.

7 Currently, it is well known and understood by the Members, the GATS provides great fl exibility in the level of liberalization adopted. For example, the clause TN works through a “positive list”: the obligation to grant “no less favorable treatment than that [excused] to its own services and providers of similar services” only arises when a Member expressly adopts commitments liberalization. Once a commitment on your list, the level of TN still depend on “conditions and qualifi cations [in the appointment list] indicated”. GATS art. XVII (1).

8 The document specified the following dynamics of negotiations: until 30 June 2002, Members should present their demands (request); until March 31, 2003, Members should submit sectors and arrangements intended to liberalize (offer). See WTO. “Guidelines and Procedures for the Negotiations on Trade in Services” (29 Mar. 2001). S/L/93, p. 2.

9 Art. I, 2 GATS defi ne 4 modes (or modes) Service: 1. “Trans”: the territory of one Member into the territory of any other Member; 2. “Consumption held abroad”: the territory of a Member to consumers of any other Member; 3. “Commercial presence”: the supplier of one Member, through commercial presence in the territory of any other Member, and, 4. “Presence of natural persons”: the supplier of one Member, through presence of natural persons of a Member in the territory of any other Member.

10 WTO. “Annual Report”. 2003, p. 25. Available at: res_e http://www.wto.org/english/ / reser_e / annual_report_e.htm. Accessed on: sep. 2007.

11 collective or plurilateral requests signifi cam that several members requested the liberalization of the same industry or the same type of services for another Member.

12 See, ICTSD. Plurilateral Services Negotiations set to start on March 27, V. 10, N. 10. Geneva (22 Mar. 2006). Available at: http://www.ictsd.org/weekly/06-03-22/ story2.htm. Accessed on: sep. 2007. It should be noted that the requests by type of provision, in which the focus is the type of service, 15 developing countries have focused on mode “4″ which involves the removal of restrictions on service providers.

13 United States, United Kingdom, Germany and Japan account for approximately 40% of world commercial services exports, estimated at $ 1.1 trillion in 2005. See WTO. International Trade Statistics. Geneva, 2006 (Table IV-93). S was quite heterogeneous. The relatively less developed countries liberalized - to varying degrees - an average of 19 sub-sectors, while other developing countries have liberalized and 50 developed countries 10910. Differences in economic development of the Member, in guiding public policy or even institutional issues were the factors listed as captive justified in diverse commitments box. Between 2004 and 2006, however, the trend that new commitments in services was contingent on obtaining positive results in the negotiations on agriculture began to fi car lighter. In early 2006, 22 collective demands for 16 sectors were realizadas11. Japan, United States and the European Communities