EU Commission proposes multlilateral trade negotiations on services
On February 15, 2013 the EU Commission asked the EU Council for negotiations on a new international agreement on trade in services and the negotiations are to start in spring 2013
The negotiations will begin with 21 WTO Members (48 when including EU Member States) at the negotiation table, however the EU is keen to encourage other countries. The EU is also pushing for the agreement to dovetail with WTO rules so it can be later folded into the WTO System.
The 21 initial countries participating represent more than two thirds of world trade in services. For the EU, trade in services is of strategic importance as the sector is accounting for some three quarters of EU GDP Gross Domestic Product and of EU jobs. Within the EU, cross-border trade in services accounts for around 30 % of EU trade, and FDI Foreign Direct Investment 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 FDI stock.