image displayed if flash reader not installed
Hong Kong Ministerial Declaration (2005):
Services Provisions
This declaration was reached at the ministerial conference of WTO, held at Hong Kong in 2005.

 

 

 

See also the declarations of other ministerial conferences:

There was no ministerial conference held in 2007, and there were no ministerial declarations issued at the Geneva conferences of 2009 and 2011.

See also the CENTRAL guides to WTO Agreements and Institutions and Rules.

 

 

 

 


WT/MIN(05)/DEC
 

MINISTERIAL DECLARATION

[...]

Services Negotiations

25.  The negotiations on trade in services shall proceed to their conclusion with a view to promoting the economic growth of all trading partners and the development of developing and least-developed countries, and with due respect for the right of Members to regulate. In this regard, we recall and reaffirm the objectives and principles stipulated in the GATS, the Doha Ministerial Declaration, the Guidelines and Procedures for the Negotiations on Trade in Services adopted by the Special Session of the Council for Trade in Services on 28 March 2001 and the Modalities for the Special Treatment for Least-Developed Country Members in the Negotiations on Trade in Services adopted on 3 September 2003, as well as Annex C of the Decision adopted by the General Council on 1 August 2004.

26.  We urge all Members to participate actively in these negotiations towards achieving a progressively higher level of liberalization of trade in services, with appropriate flexibility for individual developing countries as provided for in Article XIX of the GATS. Negotiations shall have regard to the size of economies of individual Members, both overall and in individual sectors. We recognize the particular economic situation of LDCs, including the difficulties they face, and acknowledge that they are not expected to undertake new commitments.

27.  We are determined to intensify the negotiations in accordance with the above principles and the Objectives, Approaches and Timelines set out in Annex C to this document with a view to expanding the sectoral and modal coverage of commitments and improving their quality. In this regard, particular attention will be given to sectors and modes of supply of export interest to developing countries

[...]


Annex C 

Services

 

   Objectives

1.   In order to achieve a progressively higher level of liberalization of trade in services, with appropriate flexibility for individual developing country Members, we agree that Members should be guided, to the maximum extent possible, by the following objectives in making their new and improved commitments:

(a)    Mode 1

(i)     commitments at existing levels of market access on a non-discriminatory basis across sectors of interest to Members

(ii)    removal of existing requirements of commercial presence

(b)    Mode 2

(i)     commitments at existing levels of market access on a non-discriminatory basis across sectors of interest to Members

(ii)    commitments on mode 2 where commitments on mode 1 exist

(c)    Mode 3

(i)     commitments on enhanced levels of foreign equity participation

(ii)    removal or substantial reduction of economic needs tests

(iii)    commitments allowing greater flexibility on the types of legal entity permitted

(d)    Mode 4

(i)     new or improved commitments on the categories of Contractual Services Suppliers, Independent Professionals and Others, de-linked from commercial presence, to reflect inter alia:

-      removal or substantial reduction of economic needs tests

-      indication of prescribed duration of stay and possibility of renewal, if any

(ii)    new or improved commitments on the categories of Intra-corporate Transferees and Business Visitors, to reflect inter alia:

-      removal or substantial reduction of economic needs tests

-      indication of prescribed duration of stay and possibility of renewal, if any

(e)    MFN Exemptions

(i)     removal or substantial reduction of exemptions from most-favoured-nation (MFN) treatment

(ii)    clarification of remaining MFN exemptions in terms of scope of application and duration

(f)     Scheduling of Commitments

(i)     ensuring clarity, certainty, comparability and coherence in the scheduling and classification of commitments through adherence to, inter alia, the Scheduling Guidelines pursuant to the Decision of the Council for Trade in Services adopted on 23 March 2001

(ii)    ensuring that scheduling of any remaining economic needs tests adheres to the Scheduling Guidelines pursuant to the Decision of the Council for Trade in Services adopted on 23 March 2001.

2.   As a reference for the request-offer negotiations, the sectoral and modal objectives as identified by Members may be considered. [1]

3.   Members shall pursue full and effective implementation of the Modalities for the Special Treatment for Least-Developed Country Members in the Negotiations on Trade in Services (LDC Modalities) adopted by the Special Session of the Council for Trade in Services on 3 September 2003, with a view to the beneficial and meaningful integration of LDCs into the multilateral trading system.

4.   Members must intensify their efforts to conclude the negotiations on rule-making under GATS Articles X, XIII, and XV in accordance with their respective mandates and timelines:

(a)    Members should engage in more focused discussions in connection with the technical and procedural questions relating to the operation and application of any possible emergency safeguard measures in services.

(b)    On government procurement, Members should engage in more focused discussions and in this context put greater emphasis on proposals by Members, in accordance with Article XIII of the GATS.

(c)    On subsidies, Members should intensify their efforts to expedite and fulfil the information exchange required for the purpose of such negotiations, and should engage in more focused discussions on proposals by Members, including the development of a possible working definition of subsidies in services.

5.   Members shall develop disciplines on domestic regulation pursuant to the mandate under Article VI:4 of the GATS before the end of the current round of negotiations. We call upon Members to develop text for adoption. In so doing, Members shall consider proposals and the illustrative list of possible elements for Article VI:4 disciplines. [2]

   Approaches

6.   Pursuant to the principles and objectives above, we agree to intensify and expedite the request-offer negotiations, which shall remain the main method of negotiation, with a view to securing substantial commitments.

7.   In addition to bilateral negotiations, we agree that the request-offer negotiations should also be pursued on a plurilateral basis in accordance with the principles of the GATS and the Guidelines and Procedures for the Negotiations on Trade in Services. The results of such negotiations shall be extended on an MFN basis. These negotiations would be organized in the following manner:

(a)    Any Member or group of Members may present requests or collective requests to other Members in any specific sector or mode of supply, identifying their objectives for the negotiations in that sector or mode of supply.

(b)    Members to whom such requests have been made shall consider such requests in accordance with paragraphs 2 and 4 of Article XIX of the GATS and paragraph 11 of the Guidelines and Procedures for the Negotiations on Trade in Services.

(c)    Plurilateral negotiations should be organised with a view to facilitating the participation of all Members, taking into account the limited capacity of developing countries and smaller delegations to participate in such negotiations.

8.   Due consideration shall be given to proposals on trade-related concerns of small economies.

9.   Members, in the course of negotiations, shall develop methods for the full and effective implementation of the LDC Modalities, including expeditiously:

(a)    Developing appropriate mechanisms for according special priority including to sectors and modes of supply of interest to LDCs in accordance with Article IV:3 of the GATS and paragraph 7 of the LDC Modalities.

(b)    Undertaking commitments, to the extent possible, in such sectors and modes of supply identified, or to be identified, by LDCs that represent priority in their development policies in accordance with paragraphs 6 and 9 of the LDC Modalities.

(c)    Assisting LDCs to enable them to identify sectors and modes of supply that represent development priorities.

(d)    Providing targeted and effective technical assistance and capacity building for LDCs in accordance with the LDC Modalities, particularly paragraphs 8 and 12.

(e)    Developing a reporting mechanism to facilitate the review requirement in paragraph 13 of the LDC Modalities.

10.  Targeted technical assistance should be provided through, inter alia, the WTO Secretariat, with a view to enabling developing and least-developed countries to participate effectively in the negotiations. In particular and in accordance with paragraph 51 on Technical Cooperation of this Declaration, targeted technical assistance should be given to all developing countries allowing them to fully engage in the negotiation. In addition, such assistance should be provided on, inter alia, compiling and analyzing statistical data on trade in services, assessing interests in and gains from services trade, building regulatory capacity, particularly on those services sectors where liberalization is being undertaken by developing countries.

   Timelines

11.  Recognizing that an effective timeline is necessary in order to achieve a successful conclusion of the negotiations, we agree that the negotiations shall adhere to the following dates:

(a)      Any outstanding initial offers shall be submitted as soon as possible.

(b)      Groups of Members presenting plurilateral requests to other Members should submit such requests by 28 February 2006 or as soon as possible thereafter.

(c)      A second round of revised offers shall be submitted by 31 July 2006.

(d)      Final draft schedules of commitments shall be submitted by 31 October 2006.

(e)      Members shall strive to complete the requirements in 9(a) before the date in 11(c).

   Review of Progress

12.  The Special Session of the Council for Trade in Services shall review progress in the negotiations and monitor the implementation of the Objectives, Approaches and Timelines set out in this Annex.

 

[...]

_________