The Trade In Services Agreement (TISA)
What is the TISA?
The Trade in Services Agreement (TISA) is the most promising opportunity in two decades to improve and expand trade in services. Initiated by the United States and Australia, the TISA is currently being negotiated in Geneva, Switzerland with 50 participants that represent 70 percent of the world's trade in services.
As of July 2015, participants in the TISA include Australia, Canada, Chile, Chinese Taipei (Taiwan), Colombia, Costa Rica, the European Union*, Hong Kong, Iceland, Israel, Japan, Liechtenstein, Mauritius, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Pakistan, Panama, Peru, Republic of Korea, Switzerland, Turkey, and the United States.
The last major services agreement, the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) was established by the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 1995. Since then, the world has evolved dramatically from the result of technological advances, changing business practices, and deeper global integration. The TISA can establish new market access commitments and universal rules that reflect 21st century trade.
The Importance of Services
The services sector is the world's largest employer, and produces 70 percent of global gross domestic product (GDP). In the United States, services generate more than 75 percent of the national economic output and provide 80 percent of private sector jobs. The United States consistently maintains a surplus of services trade which is currently over $260 billion. According to the U.S. Office of the Trade Representative, if U.S. business services achieved the same export potential as U.S. manufactured goods, then U.S. exports as a whole could increase by $800 billion.
The TISA has the opportunity to address major and fundamental barriers to trade in services affecting the United States and the globe. Some barriers to services trade include limited movement of data across borders, unfair competition from state-owned enterprises, lack of transparency and need for due process of law, and forced local ownership and discrimination in obtaining business licenses and permits.
An international services agreement has the potential to create trading conditions that enable services industries to achieve their full potential. The TISA can be one of the most important economic contributions of this century-for the United States and the globe.
*European Union includes: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom
TiSA parties set a date of finishing negotiations by December 2016. However, due to various political variables, as of November 2016 it has been reported TiSA will not be able to conclude by the end of the year. TiSA parties will hold technical discussions before the end of the year to discuss a good stopping point in order for negotiations to be picked up again next year, which will include a new U.S. Administration.
More information on the TiSA: