Author Archives: Sarah Warner

Prospects for future UK-Australia Services Trade

George Riddell is Director of Trade Strategy at EY, London, primarily responsible for advising companies on their international trade strategy. He has a decade of experience in international trade. Prior to joining EY, he spent over six years with the UK delegation to the WTO.

On 17 June 2021, Australia and the United Kingdom announced an Agreement in Principle on a new Free Trade Agreement (FTA). Since then, negotiators on both sides have been hammering out the details of the legal text of the agreement.

With that final agreement expected imminently, it is an ideal moment to look at one of the topics that has garnered less attention than its agricultural counterparts – trade in services. Here I assess the prospects for services trade between the countries, as well as areas of future development.

Current situation

While the COVID-19 pandemic continues to disrupt global trade, prior to the pandemic the amount of services trade between the UK and Australia has been considerable, with the UK being Australia’s third largest two-way services trading partner, accounting for 7.7% of   Australia’s total services trade in 2019-20. For the UK, services exports to Australia had been growing steadily from £6.2bn in 2016 to £7.7bn in 2019.

In 2019, the top categories of UK services trade with Australia (excluding travel) included:

1  Other Business Services

£1.8bn

Professional & Management Consulting Services

£553m

Legal, Accounting & Public Relations

£449m

2 Trade, trade-related & other business services

£1.2bn

Architectural, Engineering and Scientific Services

£274m

3 Insurance Pension Funds

£1.2bn

4 Transportation

£1.1bn

5 Financial Services 

£0.7bn

For services providers in Australia exporting to the UK in 2019 (excluding travel) other business services (£880m) and technical and trade-related services (£619m) were also the largest categories of Australian exports.

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The views expressed here are the author’s and may not necessarily represent the views of their employer nor the Institute for International Trade.

The Landing Zone in Trade Agreements for Cross-Border Data Flows (CBDF)

Dr Pascal Kerneis

The digitalisation of the world economy is continuing at a fast pace. Its successful progress is dependent on the ability to move data as freely as possible across international borders. Digital trade chapters are therefore becoming a critical part of bilateral, plurilateral and multilateral trade agreements.

Various domestic policy objectives are implemented at the national levelby trading partners, which lead to differences in approaches to regulating cross-border data flows (CBDF). It is therefore crucial to explore where a landing zone might be found that would allow  adoption of global rules on electronic commerce (e-commerce) and digital trade.

Understanding the background historical context is important as a first step. One can then look at the specific issue of  CBDF in various negotiating camps and examine divergences and similarities   that might lead to an acceptable solution for international rules on digital trade. This article highlights the key elements of a longer paper that seeks to identify a potential landing zone for CBDF.

1. The historical context

The multilateral route:

The WTO Uruguay Round ended 25 years ago when the internet was still in its infancy. But global rules on digital trade have not been updated since. Many WTO Members considered that a new path was necessary and decided in 2017 to launch exploratory work towards future WTO negotiations on trade-related aspects of e-commerce. 86 Members are now part of the Joint Statement Initiative (JSI) on E-commerce. Progress has been made on some important issues with legal text for future rules nearly closed, hopefully with progress registered at the 12th Ministerial  Conference in November 2021 in Geneva.  But negotiators have not yet touched upon the decisive issue which would really impact global   rules on digital trade: the issue of CBDF.

The plurilateral/bilateral path:

In the absence of rules at the multilateral level, many WTO members felt the need to enact some rules for the flow of data between them. We look at the first ever agreement with a complete chapter on digital trade (Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CP-TPP), as well as the Digital Trade chapter of the USA–Mexico–Canada Agreement (USMCA). The USA-Japan Digital Trade Agreement also establishes high-standard rules in this area. Among the CP-TPP signatories, some considered that the text on digital trade did not go far enough, and decided to adopt even deeper rules which we also looked at (DEPA, DEA, etc).

The European Union (EU) has negotiated an “Electronic Commerce” chapter in its agreement with Canada but there is no provision on CBDF. The EU-Singapore FTA includes a chapter on e-commerce as does the EU FTA with Japan, in the latter case with a 3 year review clause on CBDF. The EU-Vietnam FTA e-commerce chapter is very weak. The only FTA implemented by the EU with rules on CBDF is the EU-UK  Trade and Cooperation Agreement (EU-UK TCA) which contains a fully-fledged Title on “Digital Trade”.

The EU is currently negotiating FTAs with Australia and New Zealand. The final outcomes in these digital trade chapters might demonstrate where a possible landing zone might lie for global trade rules on CBDF (including for the WTO JSI on   E-Commerce).

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The views expressed here are the author’s, and may not necessarily represent the views of the Institute for International Trade.

Public-Private Dialogue on Services “Driving Services for an Inclusive and Resilient Economy”

The Asia Pacific Services Coalition (APSC) and the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC) have teamed up once again to organize a Public-Private Dialogue on Services, with the theme, “Driving Services for an Inclusive and Resilient Economic Recovery”

The two-day webinar will gather international experts, APEC officials and business leaders to share experience and best practices, and from there, draw lessons on how the services sector can build-back-better and build-back-broader the world economy.

The event is even more timely and important with the midterm review of the APEC Services Competitiveness Roadmap (ASCR) this year. In 2015, APEC Leaders committed to developing a strategic and long-term services agenda through a region-wide set of actions and mutually agreed targets to be achieved by 2025. The following year, APEC set concrete targets to: (1) reduce the restrictions to services trade and investment, (2) increase the share of services exports, (3) increase the growth in trade in services, and (4) increase APEC’s share in global services trade.

With COVID-19 coming into the picture, how is APEC faring towards achieving its targets? In light of the challenge of the pandemic and threat of climate change, what are the necessary policy adjustments and practical measures to facilitate trade and improve service competitiveness?

  • Jane Drake-Brockman is moderating in Session 4: Accelerating Digital Adaptation
  • Lee Tuthill, IITs newly appointed Visiting Fellow is a Keynote Speaker in Session 2: Servicing The World Towards Economic Resilience

WHEN: October 12 (08.00 to 10.30) and October 13 (20.00 to 22.30), Philippine time.

WHERE: Online Register here  

This PPD is organized by APSC and ABAC, in partnership with the Trade & Investment in Services Associates (TIISA) and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) Australia, and presented to you by ABAC Philippines and Globe Telecom.

WTO Public Forum 2021: Trade Beyond COVID-19: Building Resilience

This year’s Public Forum, entitled “Trade Beyond COVID-19: Building Resilience”, looked at the effects of the pandemic on trade and how the multilateral trading system can help build resilience to COVID-19 and future crises. Under the main theme the Public Forum’s sub-themes were Enhancing Resilience beyond COVID-19; Strengthening the Multilateral Trading System; and Collective Action towards Sustainable Trade.

TIISA Network Director; Jane Drake-Brockman participated as coordinator in the following sessions.

WTO Joint initiative on services domestic regulation 

Services and innovation: The future is digital 

Other sessions of interest

Making plurilateral negotiations support the multilateral trading system.

COVID crisis, industrial subsidies and the way forward

Read related Think 20 Policy Briefs:

Think 20 Policy Brief : Digital Trade; Top Trade Negotiation Priorities

Think 20 Policy Brief : Boosting G20 Cooperation for WTO Reform

 Think 20 Policy Brief : Domestic Distortions Through Industrial Subsidies

Opinion Piece: Services are essential too! Identifying the missing link in trade policy proposals during the pandemic

Dr Sherry Stephenson, Convenor, Pacific Economic Cooperation Council (PECC) Services Network.
Considerable discussion has been carried out over the past 18 months on how to most effectively address the COVID-19 health pandemic in an international context, particularly the critical role of trade in providing the necessary channels for moving essential medical equipment, vaccines and therapeutics, across borders. Several proposals have been submitted to the WTO on how trade policy can best respond to the COVID-19 crisis.

However, almost none of these numerous proposals have mentioned the critical role that services play in moving essential goods across borders. There is a striking difference between the focus on trade in goods and the absence of attention on the necessary role of services in allowing these goods to reach their destination.

Most of the discussion that has taken place at the WTO over the past 18 months has focused on proposals to adopt a temporary waiver from the TRIPS Agreement that would allow for the production of generic COVID-19 health products outside of normal patent obligations. More recent proposals have called for a WTO Trade and Health Initiative and for the creation of a WTO Committee on Trade and Health. The recent proposals by several WTO members to the WTO General Council have been submitted with the purpose of crafting a Declaration as well as a Work Program or Action Plan for the WTO to pursue in addressing the pandemic. These proposals will be negotiated for finalization at the coming Ministerial Council meeting (MC12).  However, only a few of these recent submissions mentions or highlights the vital role of services in facilitating the movement of trade in essential goods.

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Opinion Piece: Topology of E-Commerce Governance

Nicholas Frank, Associate Lecturer in the School of Politics and International Relations, Australian National University.

Global e-commerce is governed by a dense web of preferential trade agreements (PTAs). While the literature on e-commerce governance is growing, our knowledge of the landscape of the e-commerce governance system remains limited.Mapping the current architecture of the system reveals important structural features and properties – such as the degree of fragmentation, polycentricism, and complexity – which can have an impact on system outcomes.

This piece introduces a new working paper   that presents a novel network analysis of the architecture of the e-commerce governance regime.

Visualizing the e-commerce governance network

Visualization is one of the draw cards of network analysis as it can reveal important structural attributes of a system in an accessible manner. Figure 1 depicts the e-commerce governance network in 2020 using a force-directed algorithm.

Countries are colour coded according to their level of development (green for high income countries, purple for upper-middle income countries, orange for lower-middle countries, and blue for low-income countries). The size of each country’s node is weighted according to the number of trade agreements with e-commerce provisions to which it is party. The ties between countries (i.e. trade agreements) are colour coded based on the scope of their e-commerce or data flow provisions. Agreements with more than 1500 words relating to e-commerce or data flow regulation are coded green, those with between 1000-1500 words are coded black, those with between 500-1000 are coded red, those with less than 500 words are coded purple.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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TIISA 2021 Annual Conference & PhD Workshop

The project brings together leading academics and key institutions in domestic regulation and global governance of international services trade and investment flows to form a transnational consortia of academics across Europe, Australia and Asia.

The hybrid TIISA Annual Conference is on the theme of “Trade and the digital transformation of services”. The COVID-19 crisis has seen an acceleration of the digital transformation of services and a rise in remote delivery of services both within and across borders. There is consequently an impetus to update trade policy and regulatory frameworks to unleash the potential for the digital transformation to support sustainable growth and job creation all over the world. Against this backdrop we invite papers covering, but not limited to, the following topics:

  • The digital transformation of services and the WTO rule book
  • The digital transformation of services: lessons from free trade agreements and digital economy agreements
  • Digital transformation, services trade and jobs
  • Innovation, entrepreneurship and the development of new digital services
  • Regulatoryimpacton data-driven innovation in (digital) services (e.g. data and privacyprotection, GDPR)
  • The role of competition and competition policy in shaping global digital services markets
  • Sector studies of digital transformation and trade (e.g. finance, telecom, media, health, education)

Additional activities: Reception, Örebro (10th); Policy Round Table dinner + webinar, Stockholm (11-12th).

Dates

8-9 November 2021 PhD Workshop

10-12 November 2021 Conference

Schedule

Monday
8 November
PhD Student Workshop 4.30-6.00 pm CET
Tuesday
9 November
PhD Student Workshop 8.00-9.30 am CET
Wednesday
10 November
Hybrid Conference 4.30-6.00 pm CET
Thursday
11 November
Hybrid Conference 8.00-10.00 am CET
Friday
12 November
Hybrid Conference 8.00-9.00 am CET

Format

Hybrid Online Conference (Zoom link to be provided)

Sponsored by Erasmus+, Hosted by AI-Econ Lab, Örebro University, Sweden; partner Ratio and Swedish Entrepreneurship Forum.

Call for papers

The AI-Econ Lab at Örebro University in association with the RATIO institute and Entrepreneurship Forum invite you to the 2021 annual conference of the TIISA network. The themes this year is trade and the digital transformation of services.

Submission

4 October – Submission deadline
Submit abstracts (< 250 words) to conf-ai-econlab@oru.se
8 October – Selection, based on abstracts.
24 October – Papers due, then sent to discussants

DOWNLOAD CALL FOR PAPERS 

Contact information

Magnus Lodefalk (initiator)

Associate Professor, Economics,  Örebro University; Ratio Institute, Stockholm; Global Labor Organization, Germany.

E-mail: magnus.lodefalk@oru.se

Hildegunn Kyvik-Nordås, (co-initiator)

Professor, Economics, Örebro University, Sweden; Council on Economic Policies, Switzerland.

E-mail: Hildegunn.Kyvik-Nordas@oru.se

Organizers

Örebro University School of Business 

The Ratio Institute  is an independent and multidisciplinary research institute in Stockholm, Sweden, with a research focus on conditions for enterprise.

Swedish Entrepreneurship Forum is a network organization for initiating, conducting and communicating policy relevant research in the field of entrepreneurship, innovation, business dynamics and growth.

APEC Capacity Building Webinar – Services Domestic Regulation

Tuesday 17 August, 2021. APEC (Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation)  Capacity Building Webinar: hosted by USTR. “Translating APEC’s Non-Binding Principles for Domestic Regulation for the Services Sector into Practice – A Focus on Domestic Regulations in Trade Agreements” 

While services trade liberalization tends to focus on the lowering of market access and discriminatory barriers, there are also significant barriers to services trade caused by opaque, unpredictable, and overly burdensome domestic policy environments.

Industry Professor and TIISA Network Director Jane Drake-Brockman presented and moderated during this highly informative and interactive webinar

Session 1 

Initial Findings of the Study on APEC’s Non-Binding Principles for Domestic Regulation of the Services Sector – A Focus on Domestic Regulations in Trade Agreements

This session aimed to disseminate key findings on costs and trends related to services domestic regulations principles and disciplines in the Asia-Pacific. In particular, the presentations will share how APEC economies can lower trade costs by streamlining domestic regulations, and how the APEC Non-binding Principles for Domestic Regulation of the Services Sector compares to a selection of trade initiatives, including: the World Trade Organization (WTO) Joint Statement Initiative on Domestic Regulations (JSI); the Comprehensive and Progressive Transpacific Partnership Agreement (CPTPP); the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP); the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA); and the European Union-United Kingdom Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA).

Moderator – Jane Drake-Brockman, Industry Professor, Institute for International Trade, The University of Adelaide

Sebastian Benz, Trade Policy Analyst, Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD)

Felipe Sandoval, Senior Services Specialist, US-SEGA

Session 2

This session aimed to increase APEC economies’ awareness of good practices in domestic regulation of the services sector, including ongoing plurilateral talks on the JSI, which seeks to remove regulatory barriers for services providers on a global scale. Considering the numerous points of convergence between the JSI and the APEC Non-binding Principles as found in the study, this session will present the reachable opportunities the JSI provides to APEC economies in streamlining and clarifying procedures and requirements for authorization, thereby reducing services trade costs and increasing economic inclusivity.

Moderator – Thomas Fine, Director, Services and Investment, Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR), United States

Jane Drake-Brockman, Industry Professor, Institute for International Trade, The University of Adelaide

Markus Jelitto, Counsellor, Trade in Services and Investment Division, World Trade Organization (WTO)

Session 3

Approaches to Transparency under Regional Trade Initiatives

Further development of transparency disciplines remains the most significant challenge in the Asia-Pacific region. While economies have been willing to agree on a more general non-binding set of principles, their approaches to transparency under regional trade initiatives do not always converge. This session aims to reflect on areas of regulatory divergence on transparency, discussing the effects of this regulatory divergence on the domestic provision of services and cross-border trade in services, as well as potential opportunities for future initiatives to support regulatory harmonization

Moderator – Felipe Sandoval, Senior Services Specialist, US-SEGA

Deborah Elms, Founder and Executive Director, Asian Trade Centre

Christine Bliss, President, Coalition of Services Industries

Professor Jane Drake-Brockman presented:

“How to Enhance Services Competitiveness, Cut Services Trade Costs and Expand Inclusive Services Business Opportunities for Developing APEC Economy SMEs”

DOWNLOAD PRESENTATION 

Stakeholder Perspectives on an Australia-United Kingdom Free Trade Agreement

Jean Monnet Network; Trade & Investment in Services Associates Policy Research Outreach Series 2021

With the announcement of the agreement in principle by Prime ministers Boris Johnson and Scott Morrison on 15 June 2021, the focus now turns to how to maximise the benefits of the agreement and the future of Australia-UK services trade.

Industry participants from TheCityUK, the UK Professional and Business Services Council, Universities UK and the Australian Services Roundtable will participate in an interactive business discussion on the prospects for enhanced trade relations under the agreement.

VIEW WEBINAR HERE

Moderator
Gabriel Gari, Reader in International Economic Law, Queen Mary University of London

Guest Speakers
Ben Rake, UK Department for International Trade (tbc)
Edwina Stevens, Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (tbc)

Business Discussants
John Cooke, TheCityUK
James Angus Bond, President, Australian Services Roundtable (Citi)
George Riddell, UK Professional and Business Services Council (EY)
Jane Drake-Brockman, Director, Australian Services Roundtable (IIT)
John Richardson, Director, Australian Services Roundtable (Cox)
Stephanie Harries, Universities UK (UUK)

Event co-hosted by
Queen Mary University of London
Institute for International Trade, The University of Adelaide
UK Professional and Business Services Council
Australian Services Roundtable
TheCity UK

EU logo

Digital Trade Integration (DTI) project

Webinar: 1 July 2021.

The Digital Trade Integration project aims to launch a network on digital trade which will work on the creation of (1) digital trade restrictions and (2) an index of digital trade integration. Digital trade has risen to the top of the international policy agenda given its sharp increase over the past decade and the sensitivity arising from related issues such as privacy, cybersecurity, freedom of expression, censorship, hate speech and disinformation.

These policies are potentially restrictive for digital trade and include regimes for intermediary liability, restrictions on data flows and data processing, requirements to provide access to source code and other IPR-related policies, and requirements for online payments.        

Professor Jane Drake-Brockman (TIISA Director) was a co-speaker as part of session 1 “Presentation of CIVICA members and partners”.

For each topic, there was a 5 minute presentation and 15 minute open discussion. Based on the discussion, a policy-brief will be prepared highlighting the main issues that deserve further discussion as part of the CIVICA project.

Please click the links below to download or read more information:

VIEW FULL PROGRAMME

CIVICA – AI Revolution

E-Payments in Asia

Danielle Flonk – Think Piece “Content Control”

Data Flows – Assessing Restrictions