Mauritius, first African country to join TISA negotiations

11 March 2015

The Mauritian government agreed to join the Trade in Services Agreement, better known as TiSA, negotiations according to a decision published last week by the Prime Minister’s Cabinet. On joining the TiSA, Mauritius will offer the same market access conditions to World Trade Organisation Members, as those proposed to the European Union in the context of the Economic Partnership Agreement.

The group of countries involved in TiSA, known as the "Real Good Friends" of services, began discussions on a possible plurilateral services pact back in 2012, given that multilateral negotiations on the subject within the WTO have long been stalled. Together, these countries account for 70 percent of world trade in services.  

TiSA is based on the WTO's General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS), which involves all WTO members.  The key provisions of the GATS – scope, definitions, market access, national treatment and exemptions – are also found in TiSA .

During their latest round of talks in February (see Bridges Weekly, 19 February 2015) , negotiators welcomed Uruguay as the 24th participant. China’s request to join the services talks remains pending.

Along with Uruguay, the participants of TISA currently include Australia, Canada, Chile, Chinese Taipei, Colombia, Costa Rica, the EU, Hong Kong, Iceland, Israel, Japan, Korea, Liechtenstein, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Switzerland, Turkey and the US.

Mauritius has been a WTO member since 1 January 1995 and a member of GATT since 2 September 1970.

ICTSD reporting.

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