The services sector is the most important sector in the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), accounting for over half of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) across the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU) and as high as 75% of GDP in some Member States. Given the importance of the services sector to the economies of the OECS, the region maintains a systemic interest in international developments which can impact the sector, whether positively or negatively. It is in this context that the Commission has partnered with the Permanent Mission of Canada to the World Trade Organization (WTO), the WTO Secretariat and the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) to host a high-level meeting on the ongoing negotiations by a subset of WTO Members on Domestic Regulation in Services.
There are currently 63 WTO Members, covering about three-quarters of world services trade, who participate in the Joint Initiative on Services Domestic Regulation. They are aiming to adopt new disciplines that will contribute to facilitating services trade and supporting inclusive economic growth and development.
The disciplines being negotiated relate to qualification requirements and procedures, technical standards and licensing requirements for service providers. The intention of the negotiators is to ensure that regulations in these areas do not constitute unnecessary barriers to trade in services.
According to Ambassador Stephen Fevrier of the OECS Permanent Delegation to the United Nations in Geneva strengthening the regulatory environment is important for both the competitiveness of the private sector and national economies as a whole.