Trade Liberalisation and International Co-operation

Trade Liberalisation and International Co-operation

A Legal Analysis of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement

Edited by Tania Voon

This book provides a detailed analysis of major legal and public policy issues arising from the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) – a treaty that will dramatically change the landscape of international trade, with effects that will be felt on a global scale.

Chapter 7: Services in the TPP: a case study of telecommunications

Danny Kotlowitz and Tania Voon

Subjects: law - academic, competition and antitrust law, international economic law, trade law, law and economics, public international law


The Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) has the potential to open services markets in numerous countries of differing levels of development, geographic regions and governance systems. This ambitious but defined effort may succeed where other attempts to liberalise services have failed. Specifically, advancements in the context of the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) have been limited since its creation in 1995 with the establishment of the World Trade Organization (WTO). Services liberalisation in preferential trade agreements (PTA) has been rather piecemeal, in many instances arguably falling short of the conditions applicable to the GATS Article V exception for economic integration agreements and containing significant ëGATS-minusí elements. TPP parties are faced with the challenge of harnessing and going beyond GATS and PTA obligations, while removing the ëwaterí between bindings regarding services trade and the domestic measures actually imposed on such trade. In doing so, an important choice includes whether to adopt a ënegative listí approach ñ whereby a given commitment applies to all service sectors and modes of supply unless the party has scheduled a specific exemption (as is the approach to the most- favoured-nation (MFN) rule in GATS Article II) ñ or a ëpositive listí approach, whereby a party agrees to certain obligations only with respect to nominated sectors and modes of supply (as is the approach to the national treatment rule in GATS Article XVII). PTAs of different TPP parties adopt different solutions to this choice.

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