WASHINGTON — Today, global tech trade association ITI and the National Foreign Trade Council (NFTC) urged governments participating in ongoing World Trade Organization (WTO) Joint Statement Initiative (JSI) Negotiations on E-Commerce to prioritize progress on advancing services market access commitments across key sectors.
In a new paper, "The Case for Ambitious Services Market Access Commitments as Part of the WTO Joint Statement Initiative on E-Commerce," NFTC and ITI wrote, “The evolving nature of digital services, along with the digital and physical infrastructures enabling the provision of such services, suggests that even the most forward-looking rules-based commitments … must be accompanied by robust market access commitments that provide necessary certainty to businesses and individuals alike.”
“Beyond creating a necessary underpinning for modern rules-based digital trade, the establishment of binding market access commitments in the context of JSI negotiations that expand upon those in the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) would directly contribute to the broader and more equitable distribution of benefits stemming from policies that promote open digital trade,” the groups observe.
In the paper, ITI and NFTC point to benefits of expanded services market access commitments, including:
- Services market access openings disproportionately benefit small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs);
- Coordinated services liberalization benefits developing economies and least developed countries (LDCs);
- Increased services trade opportunities make for a more inclusive trading system; and
- Binding services market access commitments secure necessary certainty for all trade in the 21st century.
In addition, as a component of broadening the application of good regulatory practices to key services sectors, the associations encourage negotiators to develop and expand provisions that extend technical barriers to trade (TBT)-style commitments to digital services, including as regards regulatory reliance on international standards and the promotion of interoperable frameworks.