From: ORAM Anya (TRADE)
I attended the afternoon session of the ESF Policy Committee Meeting today and thought you might like some feedback:
Statistics on Trade in Services
Bettina Knauth (EUROSTAT) made a presentation on what EUROSTAT is doing in the field of trade in services - BoP statistics and FATS indicators (only 8 member states - not including DE and FR - participate in the latter). The FATS work looks at foreign ownership of companies in the EU - useful for Mode 3 work - and the database can be manipulated to provide a range of information on origin of ownership (not surprisingly, mostly the US followed some way behind by Japan) for quite specific sub-sectors. During the question and answer session, she acknowledged that statistical information on trade in services is quite limited, but this was a reflection of history. EUROSTAT realised that more needed doing, but this had to be balanced against the fact the industry (the source of the statistics through the national statistical offices) were reluctant to provide yet more information.
ESF (Kerneis) indicated that they would poll members to see what sort of statistical information ESF felt should be collated. Knauth said it would be useful input, but that the main impetus for developing new areas of statistical information came from the Commission. [I conclude from this that we need to be talking much more with EUROSTAT - in fact it would probably be useful if they were to make a similar presentation to this Unit in the not too distant future as a starting point - so that we have a clearer idea of what is out there.]
Information on FATS indicators is available through the EUROSTAT web-site in their Statistics in Focus series - 04/2000 and 20/2001. It can also be obtained through New Cronos (which the Commission should have access to) through Theme 4/SBS/FATS.
I took this point for Nathalie, who was unable to attend. I debriefed on latest developments in Geneva - general recognition that March 2002 deadline will not be met, not clear yet whether new deadline will be set, or whether any benefit in doing so. Need to be conscious that still very much of interest to some developing countries. EC remained very concerned that issues were not being properly thought through, in particular in relation to application of an ESM to Modes 1,2 and 4. There was also issue of cross-modal application of safeguard and risk of trade distortion. EC would resist entering into a drafting exercise until implications became clearer - where reflecting on whether to table a paper on this in Geneva (if it was tabled, we would share with ESF).
I explained that this issue was currently dormant.
EC continued to have an interest in the Article XIII.2 mandate, but not entirely clear how best to move forward. Probably not much visible action in the coming months, but EC intended to discuss with main trading partners and with Secretariat, perhaps with a view to developing rules for a particular sector. ESF noted potential interest in doing something on computer and related, architecture and engineering. I said we hadn't yet firm views, but wanted something that would be attractive to developing countries and did not give rise to many regulatory issues.
ESF asked about the planned Mode 4 seminar - they understood that civil society (including industry) would be excluded. I debriefed on state of development - free standing event to take place in March/April 2002 (date not yet fixed). Would involve governments (trade, employment, immigration, industry), industry, trade unions, academics etcc - so civil society definitely not excluded. Agenda currently under discussion - EC seeking less emphasis on economic theory and more on practical issues.
Mark Hatcher (PWC -Mode 4 spokesman) indicated that responses to CEC questionnaire on Mode 4 were under preparation by some members and information would be forthcoming to a greater or lesser extent early in the New Year. We agreed to keep in touch.
END OF TEXT
GATSwatch is a joint project of Corporate Europe Observatory and Transnational Institute