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Goods and services | Brussels, 22 July 2014, updated on 17 November 2016

The EU publishes TiSA position papers

Transparency is important to the European Commission. In the talks on a Trade in Services Agreement – as in the Doha Development Agenda negotiations – we want to be as open as we can and to make our positions as transparent as possible without jeopardising our ability to negotiate.

The TiSA negotiations are based on texts tabled by the participating countries. In the EU's case, texts submitted by the EU are first agreed with the governments of the EU's Member States.

As part of our ongoing efforts to make the EU's position in the TiSA talks as transparent as possible, we have made public those EU contributions to the negotiations the publication of which at this stage does not undermine the EU's negotiating position:

  • A concept paper
  • Two proposals for rules
  • An initial offer

These papers only set out the EU's position. Other countries taking part in the TiSA talks have also tabled papers. Whether they choose to make their papers public is a matter for their governments.

Proposals by the European Union

The EU has contributed significantly to the TiSA negotiations right from the exploratory phase. The documents below illustrate the various proposals circulated by the EU.

The documents below are published without prejudice to the exception to the right of access to documents laid down in Article 4.1 (a), 3rd indent of the Regulation 1049/2001*. However, at this stage of the TiSA negotiations, the Commission considers that disclosure of the documents does not affect the EU’s position and so does not undermine the protection of the public interest as regards international relations.

* OJ L145, 31.05.2001, page 43

Concept papers

A concept paper presents ideas to feed into the discussions.

A modular approach to the architecture of a plurilateral agreement on services

This paper sets out the EU's ideas on how the agreement should be structured. It also includes the EU's ideas on how to make the agreement open to other participants and to eventually make it a part of the World Trade Organization's general rules.

Proposals for rules

Proposals for rules (or 'disciplines' in the jargon) set out proposed legal text. The text is intended to serve as a basis for negotiations.

EU proposal for a core text and scheduling provisions

This paper sets out the EU's ideas as to how the actual basic text of the agreement could look like.

EU proposal for an Annex on Financial Services

This paper sets out the EU's suggestions for dealing with trade in financial services. It basically combines the text of two existing agreements:

  • the GATS (General Agreement on Trade in Services) Annex on financial services
  • the GATS Understanding on Commitments in financial services

Complementary protocol on movement of natural persons for business purposes

This paper sets out the EU's suggestions to incorporate procedural commitments on the temporary entry and stay of highly-skilled professionals (so-called "mode 4") on the basis of a separate protocol. Traditionally, the EU has not taken procedural commitments related to mode 4 in trade agreements. However, given the offensive interest of the EU in mode 4 and the importance of procedural commitments for that purpose, the EU decided to give further impetus to the negotiations by proposing this complementary protocol as an integral element of the TiSA Agreement.

EU proposal on Administrative and institutional provisions

This proposal sets out the EU suggestions for the administrative and institutional provisions of TiSA that would allow for the accession of new participants and the future multilateralization of the agreement.

EU proposal on State-to-State Dispute Settlement

This proposal aims at establishing an effective and efficient state-to-state mechanism for resolving any disputes between TiSA Parties on the interpretation and application of TiSA. The text is largely based on the WTO Dispute Settlement Understanding and does not jeopardise the future multilateralization of the Agreement.

The EU offer

This text sets out the EU's opening bid for allowing foreign (non-EU) companies to provide services in the EU. It lists what sort of services they could provide and under what conditions. It is based on what the EU has offered to other countries in bilateral agreements, without going beyond what has offered them.

Like all participants in the talks, the EU has the right to change its offer. This will depend on how much other participants are prepared to allow EU firms to provide services in their countries. The EU's initial offer is accompanied by two explanatory texts.

The EU initial offer, November 2013
How to read the EU initial offer?
How to read the EU initial offer – model schedule

In the course of the negotiations, TiSA Parties have updated and improved their offers. In this context, the EU submitted a first revised offer in May 2016 and second revised offer in October 2016.

With its second revised offer, the EU delivered an offer that is close the level of ambition of its best FTA. It significantly improves access conditions in a number of sectors and all modes of supply, without touching on the EU's ability to protect and regulate public services.

Revised offer, May 2016
Second revised offer, October 2016: