Trade Policy at Work

Improving Institutional Mechanisms for Trade in Services Negotiations and Policy-making: A Toolkit

Effective institutional mechanisms for intra-governmental coordination and non-state actor (NSA) engagement on Trade in Services policymaking and negotiations are essential. Not only do they provide decision-makers with key information sources, but they also provide needed buy-in from stakeholders. This toolkit helps governments in LDCs, LICs, LMICs and their RECs to improve the effectiveness of different institutional mechanisms for coordination and consultations on trade in services policymaking and negotiations.

This toolkit is published as part of the “Support to Enhance Development of Trade in Services Negotiations” initiative jointly undertaken by ILEAP, CUTS International Geneva and the University of Sussex’s CARIS. It aims to contribute to the increased and more effective participation of Least Developed, Low and Lower-Middle Income Countries and their Regional Economic Communities in multilateral, regional and bilateral services trade negotiations.

The initiative promotes understanding among policy makers, regulators and negotiators about their services sectors and the role that trade negotiations can play in pursuing their strategic interests therein.


The toolkit is intended for anyone interested in TiS policymaking and negotiations, however it targets in particular officials responsible for trade policy – such as Ministries of Trade, Commerce, Integration, and/or Foreign Affairs, as well as the broader range of officials dealing with individual service sector (and investment) policy (e.g. Finance, ICT/Telecommunications, Education, Energy, Environment, Tourism, Transportation, Professional and Business services, Audiovisual services, Construction, Engineering, Distribution, Health, Cultural, Sporting and Recreational services, etc.). At the same time, the intended audience includes non-state actors (NSA), such as civil society organisations, private sector associations and bodies, as well as services firms themselves.


The toolkit is broken down into three parts. After addressing some definitional issues, it starts in Part I by looking at the structures (i.e. actors and roles) as well as the processes (i.e. interactions and processes) of effective institutional mechanisms for TiS policymaking and negotiations. Part II delves more specifically into enriching intra-governmental engagement. Part III provides some exercises that could be used in concert with the toolkit for training purposes.

To help support the process of better understanding how different institutional mechanisms can be deployed for enhanced coordination and consultation amongst stakeholders, the toolkit draws on examples of good practices from different parts of the world. These examples, presented in Boxes throughout the toolkit, offer the stakeholders options on how to overcome the specific institutional challenges they may face in devising and leveraging effective mechanisms for TiS. Concrete recommendations are provided in bullet points.