NOTE FOR THE FILE
Subject: GATS 2000 / DISTRIBUTION - meeting with EC industry
A meeting took place on 10 December 2019 with representatives of the distribution sector to enquire about their exporting interests in the framework of GATS 2000 negotiations. The meeting was well attended witrh representatives from AEDT, BGA, ERRT, ESF, Eurocommerce, FTA, Wirtschaftskammer Österreich, Ahold and Carrefour.
After updating on the state of play of GATS 2000 negotiations, there was an open discussion on the usual barriers encountered to export distribution services and on the industry objectives for the negotiations on this sector.
The most common barriers where found to be excessive ownership requirements, discriminatory economic needs test and quotas, restrictions on the distribution of some goods, long delays to obtain business visas, and the regulatory framework, which was often not sufficiently transparent (licensing, corruption, legal certainty, bureaucracy, underground economy …). It was also indicated the importance of side-services to modern distributors, such as after-sales, repair and maintenance, goods delivery etc … This should be particularly taken into account as the narrow W120 classification covers them separately from the Distribution sector. E-commerce will be important in the future to more distributors, notably for some retailers on mode 1. Those areas where difficulties are generally felt were China, Eastern Europe, Egypt, India, Korea, Japan, some Latin-American countries, Nafta countries, Russia and some ex-CIS, South-East Asia and Taiwan. Franchising was mentioned as a specific sub-sector that deserves particular attention, although most problems in this area refer to IPR.
Sergio BALIBREA SANCHO
Rue de la Loi 200, B-1049 Bruxelles