Letter DG Trade - ESF, 22 October 2019


GATS Basics

GATS 2000

GATS Debate






Brussels 22 October 2019

Pascal Kerneis
ESF Managing Director
Rue Joseph II 40, bte 6
B-1000 Brussels

Subject: Mode 4 -- Preparations for GATS 2000 Negotiations

Dear Pascal,

I know that ESF is very interested in Mode 4 in the context of the GATS 2000 negotiations, as witnessed by your three position papers on this and the fact that you are intending that the latest position paper - and particularly the Model Schedule - should take up a large part of the discussion between ESF and the members of the 133 (Services) Committee on 30 October.

However, as we have mentioned to ESF members before, working to achieve improvements multilaterally is but one side of the coin In addition, we will be entering into bilateral negotiations with WTO members on the entirety of their schedules of commitments, including on Mode 4. It is therefore important that the European Commission prepare country specific requests, at least for a number of key negotiating partners, asking them - for example - to extend coverage for intra-corporate transferees to certain categories not currently covered, to bid or extend lengths of stay, or to eliminate certain restrictions (e.g. percentage of numerical quotas).

We would very much welcome industry's input to this exercise, both in terms of finding out where the problems currently lie and in making specific requests. Without ESF input, the exercise risks becoming a purely intellectual one that may miss out on important issues. To this end, please find attached a questionnaire which will guide respondents to providing the sort of information that we can make use of. This two page document is drafted in such a way that it can be distributed direct to ESF members. You will see that, in the first instance, we are seeking information for a specific list of countries, but - to the extent that industry has identified other WTO members as countries where improvements to GATS commitments are really needed, such information would also be gratefully received and deployed. I also attach a summary analysis of the current GATS commitments that likely major negotiating partners have made.

In order to meet our internal deadline of seeking to prepare an initial list of requests by the end of year, responses to this exercise are being requested by 30 November 2019. Although, on the face of it, this does not provide industry with much time to complete the exercise, the information that we are seeking should be relatively readily to hand, i.e. examples of real problems experienced - if not through the European-based offices of companies, then through their overseas offices and affiliates.

Any queries may be addressed to Anya ORAM (tel 02-295.28.26). Thank you in advance for your co-operation in this matter.

Head of Unit

Encs. 2 [The enclosures were not included with hte documents that Corporate EUrope Observatory obtained]

GATSwatch is a joint project of Corporate Europe Observatory and Transnational Institute
Paulus Potterstraat 20, 1071 DA Amsterdam, The Netherlands