Trade In Services Negotiations And Implementation
International trade and investment in services are an increasingly important part of the regional integration agenda. While most African countries participated in the WTO negotiations resulting in WTO’s General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS), they have further proceeded to create a trade in services and investment agreements under the auspices of their regional economic communities. However, similar to the challenges these countries face to implement their minimum standard commitments under WTO’s GATS and associated agreements, implementation incapacities of these countries are further pronounced at the regional level where they have assumed WTO-plus commitments.
The ability to rationalize national interests in a negotiation context and further rationalize the implementation of the resulting outcomes for implementation purposes remains a singular source of concern confronting African countries in their Regional Economic Communities (RECs) regimes. In this regard, as African Countries prepare to exchange offers that will transition to schedules of specific commitments under the African Continental Free Trade Area according to the AfCFTA Agreement, would like to enhance the skills of their negotiators as they prepare for the forthcoming trade in services and investment negotiations. This is critical considering that ICT-related technological advancements have expanded the scope of services that can be traded across borders and the nature of FDI thus challenging the validity of the scope of coverage of trade in services issues that are currently covered in both in RECs regimes and the WTO.
Furthermore, new initiatives by advanced economies aimed at reshaping trade in services standards, creating new rules and expanding the scope of sectors covered by traditional multilateral and REC regimes have emerged.
Officials from Registrars of IP, Trade and Trade Related Ministries, Practitioners, and business captains.
At the end of the programme, participants will be able to:
- Discuss key concepts in trade in services in particular those arising from AfCFTA Agreement on Trade in Services and their potential impact on countries;
- Analyze the potential implications and challenges of negotiating trade in services with third parties and advanced economies within the AfCFTA framework;
- Assess the substantial issues regarding the AfCFTA investment protocol;
- Analyze potential consequences of various options in services liberalisation in the Sierra Leone context given its current WTO commitments;
- Describe recent developments in trade services agreements and their
- Develop practical skills on how to identify negotiation interests.
- Rationalize, analyse and review sector-specific cases and their relevance to the proposed schedule of commitments;
- Describe the nature of economic diplomacy in the context of AfCFTA negotiations as well as the implications of commitments at the WTO and ECOWAS.