Countries and Services Trade: Chasing A Black Cat in a Dark Room, Blindfolded
The Uruguay Round of trade negotiations which resulted in the establishment of the World Trade Organization (WTO) has yielded substantial gains for the industrialised countries while hardly benefitting the developing countries. This imbalance is evident not only in the realm of trade in goods but also with regard to the services sector, one of the new areas that entered the remit of the multilateral trading system during the Uruguay Round.
As mandated by the WTO's General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS), a new round of negotiations on services is presently under way at the world trade body. This book draws on the experience of the Uruguay Round services talks, where the developing countries gave concession after concession without effectively obtaining any in return, to warn against further such capitulation in the ongoing new round.
The author examines the difficulties and uncertainties plaguing developing -country WTO members in relation to the GATS negotiations, including the lack of proper data on the direction of trade in services to aid them in assessing the costs and benefits of commitments given and received. He asserts that the countries of the developing world should not undertake new commitments in this area before these problems are addressed and set right.
About the author: Chakravarthi Raghavan has been the Chief Editor of the South-North Development Monitor (SUNS), a daily bulletin specializing in trade and development issues, since its establishment in 1980. He is also Editor of the fortnightly Third World Economics. He is the author of Recolonization: GATT, the Uruguay Round and the Third World; The New Issues and Developing Countries; The World Trade Organization and its Dispute Settlement System: Tilting the Balance Against the South, and numerous papers and articles on trade, development and other issues.
Developing Countries and Services Trade: Chasing a black cat in a dark room, blindfolded
Fanciful Claims and Unfulfilled Promises
Lack of Data on Services Trade
Imbalances in Distribution of Benefits Between Industrialized and Developing Countries
Negotiating Guidelines and Procedures
Need for Further Action and Study
Annex 1: Third World still terra incognita on services data
Annex 2: Services data collection won't reflect GATS definition
Annex 3: Despite GATS data gaps, negotiate new commitments, says WTO
Annex 4: "GATS - Fact and Fiction" at best a partial truth
Annex 5: UN services data collection won't help GATS negotiators
Annex 6: New GATS talks aim for free movement of capital
Annex 7: Valuing services commitments involving commercial presence at the WTO
Annex 8: Guidelines and procedures for the negotiations on trade in services