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The UK, the WTO and Global Trade: Leading Reform on Services Trade

Publication date: 22 July 2022PDFThe UK, the WTO and Global Trade: Leading Reform on Services Trade

If Britain’s economy is to grow, much will depend on the success of its services, a sector in which many providers are global leaders. These account for around 80 percent of the UK economy. But as The UK, the WTO and Global Trade: Leading Reform on Services Trade explains, by comparison with goods, services suffer from serious trade barriers, undermining the potential for economic growth. The author, David Collins, who holds the chair of international economic law at City, University of London, explains that the UK must now exploit its Brexit freedoms to champion greater trade liberalisation for services: a free trade framework, with deeper commitments on services. Focussing on digital trade and professional services, he explains that two serious problems must be tackled – mutual recognition of like for like professional qualifications and the management of personal data that crosses international borders. Data management poses particular problems for the UK and other advanced economies. given the difficulty of balancing consumer protection against the benefits of open markets.    Professor Collins analyses the barriers to successful trade in current trade deals including the bilateral agreements the UK has with Japan, Canada, Australia and New Zealand and that being negotiated with the CPTPP (Comprehensive Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership).He recommends that:
  • the UK pursue the liberalization of services through both at the WTO and through FTAs more aggressively through granting enhanced market access and mutual recognition for professional qualifications
  • continue to push for greater international commitments on digital trade, both at the WTO and through FTAs
  • take on a stronger leadership role at the WTO to deliver meaningful reform, particularly in the area of dispute settlement
Not only should Britain continue to promote bilateral and multilateral regional initiatives and Free Trade Agreements. Above all the UK should provide the leadership in the WTO to liberalise services trade globally. As Professor Collins says: ‘The UK has one of the proudest traditions of as a free trading nation in the world. As one of the world’s largest economies, it is poised to take on leadership at institutions like the WTO to deliver greater trade liberalization for the 21st Century’s digitalized, service-focused economy.’
Notes to Editors1. The UK, the WTO and Global Trade: Leading Reform on Services Trade by David Collins will be published by Politeia, 55 Tufton Street, London, SW1P 3QL
2. David Collins is Professor of International Economic Law at City, University of London and a member of Politeia’s Academic Advisory Council. A WTO specialist, he previously practised commercial litigation in Toronto and was a prosecutor for the Attorney General in Ontario, Canada. His publications include The Public International Law of Trade in Legal Services (Cambridge, 2019) and An Introduction to International Investment Law (Cambridge, 2016)
3. Established in 1995, Politeia is an independent, non-partisan think-tank providing a forum to discuss economic, constitutional and social policy with a particular focus on the role of the state in people’s lives.
4. Professor Collins considers in particular:EU: The UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA)  The UK-Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) The Australia and New Zealand FTAs Comprehensive Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) The Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA)

Professor David Collins

David Collins is Professor of International Economic Law at City, University of London and a member of Politeia's Academic Advisory Council. A WTO specialist, he previously practised commercial litigation in Toronto and was a prosecutor for the Attorney General in Ontario, Canada. His publications include The Public International Law of Trade in Legal Services (Cambridge, 2019), An Introduction to International Investment Law (Cambridge, 2016). Twitter: @davidcollinslaw.

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