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Goods and services | Geneva, 2 May 2014

EU backs Uruguay joining talks on Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA)

On the occasion of the seventh round of Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA) negotiations, the EU announced its strong support for Uruguay joining ongoing talks to liberalise trade in services.

Ahead of the negotiating round, Montevideo clearly confirmed in writing its interest in the negotiations. "Uruguay shares the objectives of the TiSA negotiations and will respect the results of the negotiation achieved by other participants if it joins” reassured the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Uruguay, Almagro Lemes. “The EU welcomes Uruguay's interest in the TiSA negotiations and strongly supports its participation in the TiSA negotiation from now on" confirmed EU Trade Commissioner De Gucht.

TiSA is an initiative open to all WTO members interested in further liberalising trade in services. Launched in March 2013, the talks currently involve 23 WTO members, although the negotiations are not being held within the WTO itself. Last year, Uruguay expressed its interest in joining TiSA and in September it submitted its application to participate in the talks.

The EU and Uruguay trust that the reassurances provided by Minister Almagro Lemes will clear the way for the support by all other TiSA participants to the swift incorporation of Uruguay to the negotiations. The EU and Uruguay look forward to working together towards an ambitious and open agreement.

Background

The TiSA negotiations cover all services sectors, including information and communication technology (ICT) services, logistics and transport, financial services and services for businesses. The EU – like the other participants – wants the negotiations to go beyond simply further opening up markets for services. The aim is also to develop new rules on trade in services.

The current participants in the negotiations are Australia, Canada, Chile, Chinese Taipei, Colombia, Costa Rica, the EU, Hong Kong China, Iceland, Israel, Japan, Korea, Liechtenstein, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Switzerland, Turkey, the United States.

For the EU, trade in services is of strategic importance, the sector accounting for some three-quarters of EU gross domestic product (GDP) and of EU jobs. Within the EU, cross-border trade in services accounts for around 30% of EU trade, and Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in Services (to be covered by the scope of the future agreement) represents around 70% of the EU's FDI flows and around 60% of our FDI stock.

Further information

EU backs China joining taks on Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA), 31 March 2014

6th round of TiSA talks end in Geneva
, 24 February 2014

European Commission proposes to open plurilateral trade negotiations on services
, 15 February 2013

Negotiations for a Plurilateral Agreement on Trade in services
- Memo, 15 February 2013