Letter DG Trade - ESF, 24 January 2019


GATS Basics

GATS 2000

GATS Debate






Brussels, 24-01-2019

['Andrew' added in handwriting]

Dear Mr. Buxton,

Subject: ESF role concerning EU sectoral objectives

At the beginning of the Seattle week, Michel Servoz and myself had a useful exchange of views with you on the potential role of ESF in identifying sector-specific negotiating objectives for GATS 2000 negotiations. I think we agreed that while obviously the ESF does not seek to take over the role of sectoral business associations but that the ESF Policy Committee should hear presentations of sectoral objectives as they emerge. This would enable each sector to hear which other sectors were facing problems similar to their own and where common interests can be addressed, e.g. through horizontal negotiating approaches.

You also kindly agreed to use your CEO level organisation in order to stimulate more serious input in sectors where European-level organisation is less strong. This will be important for our ongoing work on EU requests and offers, but also in the following negotiations. As early candidates, we identified tourism and business/ professional services as well as distribution. Other sectors on which we need more information are construction, education, environmental, health and social services, and audiovisual services.

For all these sectors, we would be interested in substantive reactions on essentially the following questions:

  • which (non-EU) countries are their most important export markets, at present and in future?
  • Which types of trade barriers relating to market access and/or national treatment are most disturbing for their exports?
  • Which mode of delivery is most relevant for their exports (cross-border supply, consumption abroad, commercial presence/establishment, trans-border movement of natural persons providing services)?
  • What is the role of electronic commerce for their business (at present and in future)?

It goes without saying that the Commission is prepared to field appropriate experts and provide preparatory documents for any meeting that you and your colleagues wish to organise for such sectoral discussions.

I hope we shall have an opportunity to discuss further in the near future.

With best regards,



Cc: Mr. Jerker Torngren, Chairman ESF Policy Committee
Mr. Pascal Kerneis, Director ESF
Messrs Beseler, Carl, Jouanjean, Servoz

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