Services at WTO : a bumpy road
This paper reviews the status of service negotiations, from a Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) perspective, in the context of the Doha Development Agenda (DDA). It describes the development content of the DDA, in general as well as in services. Considering that developing countries have regarded GATS as an agreement with «development friendly» architecture, they had high expectations concerning the trade opportunities that this Agreement would offer. These expectations have not been met. LAC countries have experienced growing deficits in their services trade and their export performance has been weaker than their corresponding performance in goods. Part of the explanation lies on the limited range of services with export potential these countries have. It is also linked to the poor commercial value found in developed countries concessions. These were specially limited in sectors and subsectors of interest to developing countries and with respect to Mode 4. Furthermore, the special and differential treatment provisions, in particular those included in GATS Art. IV have proved to have little operational value. Most developing countries have not made use of these provisions. Finally, some considerations are made regarding the type of reforms needed at the domestic level in order to build a strong, competitive service export sector.