WTO (Negotiations, Regular Work, Leadership)

WTO Services Negotiations: Identifying East African Community Countries’ Interests

The paper explores the East African Community (EAC) and its interests in the WTO services negotiations. Drawing on an understanding of the region, it analyses its economic dynamics, including on services trade, in a bid to tease out what the region could prospect in the WTO’s negotiations based on the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS). It connects the dots between EAC home-grown processes on services liberalization, and what as well as how the GATS negotiations could be used to harness benefits for EAC countries- particularly in the context of preparations for the Post- Bali Work Programme and the run up to the 10th WTO Ministerial Conference (MC10). Finally, it speaks to the important question of developing the EAC’s capacity to benefit from the opportunities presented by WTO-led liberalization on trade in services.

This study 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.