12 - Market access for the government procurement of services: comparing recent PTAs with WTO achievements  pp. 435-474

Market access for the government procurement of services: comparing recent PTAs with WTO achievements

By Robert D. Anderson and Anna Caroline Müller

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The treatment of services in preferential trade agreements provides an important point of comparison with their treatment in the multilateral trading system. Recently, several studies have examined aspects of the treatment of services in PTAs. These analyses have provided insights into a number of important questions: (a) To what extent are countries willing to make broader and deeper commitments regarding services liberalization in PTAs as compared to the GATS? (b) Why is this so? (c) What costs does the proliferation of such commitments entail? (d) Can such commitments serve as building blocks for multilateral liberalization, or are they more likely to undermine it? An important related question concerns possibilities for the eventual multilateralization of commitments on services liberalization in PTAs (Baldwin, Evenett, and Low, 2007).

To date, analysis of the treatment of services in PTAs has focused on provisions governing trade in services that are purchased by private entities. These provisions are important in their own right and provide a logical point of comparison with the treatment of services in the GATS. The focus on commercial trade in services overlooks another important component of services trade, however, namely the government procurement of services. To the extent that it is regulated by PTAs, government procurement is usually governed not by the general services provisions of such agreements, but by their provisions on the government procurement of services and goods.

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