The Preferential Liberalization of Trade in Services

The Preferential Liberalization of Trade in Services

Comparative Regionalism

Edited by Pierre Sauvé and Anirudh Shingal

The book’s core focus is on comparative scholarship, directing attention to the substantive features of services PTAs around the globe and exploring the iterative nature of rule-making and market opening in a still nascent field of trade diplomacy. It advances a number of ideas on how to multilateralize PTA advances in services and takes stock of the likely impact on the WTO system of ongoing attempts at crafting a plurilateral agreement on trade in services.

Chapter 5: Services trade in the European Union: internal and external approaches to market opening

Imola Streho

Subjects: law - academic, international economic law, trade law


The European Union is the most important global player in international services trade today. The period since the 1990s has seen a constant rise in the service sector of the EU economy. Services play a major role in EU growth, jobs and exports, accounting for over 70% of Europe's GDP and a similar proportion of aggregate employment. Cross-border services trade represent 25% of the EU's global trade, a level some 20% above the world average. The expansion of EU services trade has in recent decades exceeded service output growth by a sizeable margin. An important defining characteristic of services trade is the immediacy and proximity of the relationship it entails between the provider and the recipient (consumer) in many transactions. A derivative feature of services is that they are provided via various modes of supply which can trigger and indeed often require the mobility of production factors (capital and labour).

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