Center on Global Governance
Services are regulated for a variety of reasons. Regulation is typically influenced by political economy forces and may thus at times reflect protectionist motivations. Similar considerations arise for goods, but the potential for protectionist capture may be greater in services as many sectors are self-regulated by domestic industry. There are specific disciplines on regulation of goods (product standards) in the WTO Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT). This encourages the use of international standards and requires that norms restrict trade only to the extent necessary to achieve the regulatory objective. WTO disciplines on domestic regulation of services are weaker and differ in key respects from those for goods. We discuss reasons for this discrepancy and assess whether consideration should be given to seeking to adopt the TBT-type disciplines that apply to trade in goods.
Bernard Hoekman & Petros C. Mavroidis,
A Technical Barriers to Trade Agreement for Services?,
European University Institute, Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies, Global Governance Programme Working Paper No. RSCAS 2015/25
Available at: https://scholarship.law.columbia.edu/faculty_scholarship/2370