Commonwealth Trade Hot Topics

The Trade Hot Topics series provides concise and informative analyses of various trade and trade-related issues which are prepared both by Commonwealth Secretariat and international experts.


Services Trade and Domestic Regulation

Issues for Developing Countries

The service sector has become increasingly important in national output and employment of developing and least developed countries (LDCs). For many of these economies, services constitute a fast growing and often-dominant sector in gross domestic product (GDP), with important forward and backward linkages to the economy. However, growing trade and investment flows in services, and the liberalisation and deregulation of trade and investment regimes also pose regulatory challenges and raise many concerns.

This issue of Trade Hot Topics summarises the cross-country experience with domestic regulation of services and liberalisation of services trade and investment, based on a multi-country study of six developing countries: Bangladesh, The Gambia, India, Jamaica, Kenya, and Zambia. It outlines how the service sector has evolved and been impacted by trade and investment liberalisation and sectoral reforms in these countries, the contribution of services to these economies, some of the negative outcomes associated with liberalization, the regulatory challenges that have shaped the liberalisation process, and how the national experiences have in turn shaped the multilateral commitment strategy of these countries under the WTO negotiations on services (under the General Agreement on Trade in Services or GATS).


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