Alexa

Economic Daily News: Grasp new opportunities under ISA

Economic Daily News: Grasp new opportunities under ISA

U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk notified Congress earlier this month of the Obama administration's decision to enter negotiations with a group of trading partners, including Taiwan, on a multilateral agreement on trade in services. The forthcoming round of talks in Geneva is aimed at striking an ambitious accord on services trade and investment known as the International Service Agreement (ISA), that would pave the way for opening up services markets around the world. The deal, if it is realized, would mark a major breakthrough in global service trade liberalization since the World Trade Organization's (WTO) Doha Round negotiations became deadlocked 12 years ago. The 21 WTO members that will begin ISA talks late this month are Taiwan, the United States, Australia, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, the European Union, Hong Kong, Iceland, Israel, Japan, South Korea, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Pakistan, Panama, Peru Switzerland and Turkey. All of them are core members of the "Really Good Friends of Services," a WTO subgroup. According to a tentative negotiation framework unveiled late last year, the ISA would be patterned upon free trade agreements signed between the U.S. and its major trading partners. It would cover three areas -- market access, the elimination of discriminatory measures and new trading rules -- with the ultimate goal of liberalization of trade in services and investment. For Taiwan, the ISA negotiations are of critical importance, as services account for over 70 percent of Taiwan's gross domestic product and offer 50 percent of the jobs available in the country. Moreover, e-commerce, cloud computing technology and other emerging service industries are all sectors that our government is actively promoting. We would benefit greatly from the signing of an ISA, since it is aimed at reducing barriers in the services trade and laying out new trade rules. Our government should also brace for the challenges that might come along with market-opening requirements of such a new agreement. (Editorial abstract -- Jan. 21, 2013). (By Sofia Wu)


Updated : 2021-03-06 05:00 GMT+08:00