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Pierre Sauvé and Natasha Ward

This chapter investigates key issues arising from ongoing attempts by WTO Members to address the operational dimension of the services waiver granted to least developed country (LDC) Members. It starts off by drawing attention to a number of conceptual and political economy considerations that those responsible for framing specific waiver requests should have in mind moving forward. In doing so, the chapter’s aim is to narrow the scope of the conversation on the services waiver to what could be deemed feasible, mutually acceptable, commercially relevant and development-friendly proposals for its operationalization. While discussions of the services waiver have shed useful light on the potential that services trade holds for the growth and development prospects of the LDC grouping and on the need to use trade as a lever for closer integration of such countries into a rapidly evolving geography of trade, the chapter posits that care is needed in guarding against undue expectations as the central focus of the waiver’s proponents on the expansion of LDC services exports is likely to disappoint absent more concerted efforts to strengthen the often crippling supply side constraints holding back the ability to make commercial (and hence developmental) use of importing country offers.

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Pierre Sauvé and Natasha Ward

This chapter takes stock of the state of play of preferential trade negotiations in services in Africa. It explores the factors that lie behind the reluctance of African governments to bind service sector policy under international treaties. The chapter chronicles several ongoing initiatives aimed at deepening intra-regional trade and investment among the eight regional economic cooperation areas found on the continent. It also describes external liberalization efforts engaging Africa with the rest of the world in services trade, devoting particular attention to negotiations under way with the European Community (EC) with a view to concluding WTO-compatible Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs). The chapter draws attention to several novel features of the EC-CARIFORUM EPA in the services field and discusses its possible implications for Africa's ongoing processes of integration in services markets at both the intra- and extra-regional levels. The chapter concludes with a broader discussion of a range of policy challenges confronting African governments in designing development-enhancing strategies of engagement in services trade negotiations.