September 21, 2021

Another step towards Domestic Regulation in the Services sector for the OECS region!

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Wednesday, May 26, 2021 — Addressing regulatory barriers, and enhancing transparency and predictability could help reduce trade impediments that negatively impact businesses and consumers in the Eastern Caribbean region. With this in mind, the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States Commission is partnering with the Permanent Mission of Canada and other partners to the WTO to host a high-level meeting on Wednesday May 26, 2021 which will allow OECS Member States to learn more about the negotiations; the potential opportunities deriving from an outcome and; to hear the perspectives of participating Members as well as the global and regional service industry.

The services sector is the most important sector in the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), accounting for over half of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) across the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU) and as high as 75% of GDP in some Member States. Given the importance of the services sector to the economies of the OECS, the region maintains a systemic interest in international developments which can impact the sector, whether positively or negatively. It is in this context that the Commission has partnered with the Permanent Mission of Canada to the World Trade Organization (WTO), the WTO Secretariat and the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) to host a high-level meeting on the ongoing negotiations by a subset of WTO Members on Domestic Regulation in Services. 

There are currently 63 WTO Members, covering about three-quarters of world services trade, who participate in the Joint Initiative on Services Domestic Regulation. They are aiming to adopt new disciplines that will contribute to facilitating services trade and supporting inclusive economic growth and development. 

The disciplines being negotiated relate to qualification requirements and procedures, technical standards and licensing requirements for service providers. The intention of the negotiators is to ensure that regulations in these areas do not constitute unnecessary barriers to trade in services.

According to Ambassador Stephen Fevrier of the OECS Permanent Delegation to the United Nations in Geneva strengthening the regulatory environment is important for both the competitiveness of the private sector and national economies as a whole. 

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