Table of Contents

Research Handbook on Trade in Services

Research Handbook on Trade in Services

Research Handbooks on the WTO series

Edited by Pierre Sauvé and Martin Roy

This Research Handbook explores the latest frontiers in services trade by drawing on insights from empirical economics, law and global political economy. The world’s foremost experts take stock of the learning done to date in services trade, explore policy questions bedevilling analysts and direct attention to a host of issues, old and new, confronting those interested in the service economy and its rising salience in cross-border exchange. The Handbook’s 22 chapters shed informed analytical light on a subject matter whose substantive remit continues to be shaped by rapid evolutions in technology, data gathering, market structures, consumer preferences, approaches to regulation and by ongoing shifts in the frontier between the market and the state.

Chapter 12: Services and state-owned enterprises

Sherry Stephenson and Gary C. Hufbauer

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


This chapter addresses the main issues relating to state-owned enterprises and international trade policy. It sets the stage by summarizing available data (mainly from OECD sources) on the size and number of SOEs in major countries, with a particular focus on service sector SOEs. The chapter also provides rough estimates of the importance of service sector SOEs in world markets and identifies the main challenges raised by SOEs in international trade, particularly for cross-border trade (Mode 1) and overseas foreign direct investment (Mode 3). The chapter further identifies the major shortcomings in the WTO GATS with respect to SOEs and summarizes existing rules and disciplines dealing with SOE practices in selected preferential trade agreements (as of end-2014). It also references the OECD Guidelines on Corporate Governance of SOEs and the Competitive Neutrality Framework as potential best practices. The chapter suggests possible disciplines that could be agreed in the WTO and in future trade agreements. These will need to be analyzed together with the SOE chapter of the recently concluded Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement.

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