Edited by Pierre Sauvé and Anirudh Shingal
One of the striking features of trade diplomacy over the past two decades has been the seemingly unstoppable march of preferential trade liberalization and rule-making. Such a trend routinely extends to trade in services. Of the 81 preferential trade agreements (PTAs) in force before 2000, 70 (representing 86.4% of the total) featured provisions dealing exclusively with trade in goods. During the ensuing decade, more than a third of PTAs that have been notified to the World Trade Organization (WTO) and remain in force include provisions on services. To date, 118 PTAs covering services have been notified to the WTO. Such a trend signals both the heightened importance of services trade in general and the fact that, since the advent of the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) at the end of the Uruguay Round, services trade forms a central part of modern trade craft. If all trade agreements can be described as "incomplete contracts", then market opening and rule-making in the services field is undoubtedly the most incomplete of all areas subject to multilateral governance. Indeed, close to two decades after the completion of the Uruguay Round, trade diplomats are still struggling with a complex set of unfinished issues.