Services Training Workshop, 22-23 August 2007
tralac hosted a two day workshop on Trade in Services in Cape Town, South Africa from 22-23 August 2007. Patrick Low, Head: Economic Research and Statistics, from the World Trade Organisation, was a key Resource Person. The Workshop was attended by government officials (including representatives of sector regulators and parastatals in the services sectors), representatives of private sector organizations and academics.
The aim of the workshop was to provide an overview of the economic and broader development significance of services in general and specifically in the economies of Eastern and Southern Africa, and to assess developments in the governance of services sectors and trade in services. Specific attention was paid to services on the FTA agenda, including the EPA negotiations and services on this agenda.
The contribution of services to overall economic activity is growing significantly even for most developing countries; similarly the growth of trade in services is showing unprecedented growth.
Services also play a very important role in the development of competitiveness; through linkages with agriculture and manufacturing, lowering the transaction costs of doing business and in the determination of production fragmentation decisions.
Services are increasingly important on the trade agenda, not only in a multilateral context, but also in the context of free trade agreements (FTAs). The current Economic Partnership Agreement Negotiations between the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries and the European Union are a case in point.
In the negotiations between the SADC EPA Group and the EU, for example, the inclusion of services on the negotiating agenda is highly contentious. The EU is strongly pushing for the inclusion, citing the important links with development, while the SADC group of countries remains resistant.