WITSA Co-signs Global Industry Statement to Advance TiSA Digital Trade Agenda

June 1, 2016 Fairfax, VA:  The World Information Technology and Services Alliance (WITSA) today co-signed a global industry statement to Trade Ministers gathering in Paris. Negotiations for a Trade in Services Agreement (TISA) kicked off in Geneva on May 26 in a round that includes the ministerial meeting on June 1 on the margins of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in Paris that is aimed at helping bring about a conclusion this year. The negotiations, which are chaired by the European Union, will last until June 3. The purpose of the global industry letter is to advance the digital trade agenda in the on-going negotiations in order to combat the increasing trend of digital protectionism. The promotion and preservation of Internet openness and cross-border information flows must be actioned as a matter of priority.

“The global industry letter follows WITSA’s Statement on Policy on International Trade in ICT Goods and Services, which was released in April, 2016”, stated WITSA Chairman Santiago Gutierrez. In this statement, WITSA urged all its members and their governments to redouble their efforts to establish and implement multilateral trade liberalization under the auspices of the WTO.  Long-established WTO principles and processes enable trade liberalization to be achieved on an open, competitive, non-discriminatory, predictable and transparent basis.

WITSA calls for immediate actions to be taken by all WTO member nations to participate in the TISA negotiations”, continued Mr. Gutierrez. “TISA should provide a comprehensive, business-friendly framework that eliminates unnecessary barriers.  To create new market opportunities, all nations must avoid enacting discriminatory policy measures, performance requests, or local regulations that have unclear objectives and limit supply. Technical standards or security requirements that restrict trade and investment should be eliminated.”

The plurilateral negotiations for the TiSA demonstrate how building leading-edge disciplines on digital trade, e-commerce and regulatory cooperation through a group of like-minded WTO members can lead to a broader discussion of new norms at the WTO.

WITSA Secretary General Dr. Jim Poisant added that, “more and more nations worldwide, including developed and developing ones, are recognizing the value of freely exchanging global talent and thinking”. This is part of a continuing shift towards free markets and unrestricted global trade.  Evidence of this shift in thinking can be seen in a number of multinational and bilateral agreements between nations.  The General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) includes “Mode IV” provisions to facilitate the movement of managers, specialists, engineers and other highly skilled service providers.

“The TiSA negotiations are another opportunity to address Mode IV barriers”, continued Dr. Poisant. “Countries that place barriers opposing the global exchange of talent are risking the success of their own businesses, economies, and societies.  And those that have remained wedded to protectionist measures that curb the mobility of global talent or artificially raise the costs of skilled workers are putting their businesses and other institutions at a distinct disadvantage at home and in the global economy.”

WITSA urges all World Trade Organization members to participate in the TiSA negotiations and call upon its members to share the global industry statement as well as the WITSA statement with their government counterparts.

  • See the Global Industry Letter here
  • The WITSA Statement can be found here

Contact:  Dr Jim Poisant M: +1 703 728-4547 | E: jpoisant@witsa.org

About WITSA:

The World Information Technology and Services Alliance (WITSA) is the leading recognized international voice of the global ICT industry, whose members from over 80 countries and economies represent more than 90 percent of the world ICT market. WITSA is dedicated to advocating policies that advance industry growth and development; facilitating international trade and investment in ICT products and services; strengthening WITSA’s national industry associations; and providing members with a broad network of professional contacts.

WITSA members are leaders in a globally interconnected marketplace. Because the challenges facing the ICT industry are undisputedly global in nature, WITSA members work together to achieve a shared vision on important issues of common interest. WITSA makes it possible for its members — ranging from Mongolia and Argentina to Kenya and the United States — to identify common issues and priorities, exchange valuable information, and present a united position on industry issues. For more information on WITSA, please visit www.witsa.org

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