Supporting Arab countries in the Negotiations of Services for Sustainable Development

The Case of the State of Palestine and the Republic of Iraq

This publication was prepared (in Arabic only) as one of the outputs of the UN Development Project entitled “Trade policies and frameworks to foster regional integration and the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals in selected conflict and post-conflict Arab countries (Republic of Iraq and State of Palestine”.

The publication is in three parts.

Part I includes a training module on negotiating Services under the WTO General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS).

This Part is divided into three main chapters.

  • Chapter I presents a general introduction to the GATS.
  • Chapter 2 provides practical guidelines on negotiations and scheduling techniques of specific commitments in services that an acceding country is expected to undertake in the WTO accession process.
  • Chapter 3 explains the negotiating strategy for liberalization of trade in services looking, in particular, into the prerequisite preparation and sequencing of the negotiations’ phases, including the conduct of the national stakeholders’ consultative process and the crucial importance to be accorded to the systematic regulatory audit of the services sectors prior to any liberalization decision.

Part II is also divided into three main chapters.

  • Chapter 1 includes a brief on the services sector in selected Arab countries, with a focus on the State of Palestine and the Republic of Iraq (the main beneficiaries of the UN Development project).
  • Chapter 2 analyzes the schedules of services commitments made by some Arab countries during their accession to the WTO.
  • Chapter 3 provides an overview on the Agreement on Liberalization of Trade in Services among Arab States [1], concluded in 2017, under the auspices of the League of Arab States.

Part III highlights the lessons learned from trade in services experiences of some Arab countries (members of WTO), and provides policy recommendations on how to reap the gains from trade agreements in services and ensure efficiency of the services sector, owing to its contribution to the sustainable development gals in Iraq and the State of Palestine.

[1]The Agreement on Liberalization of Trade in Services among Arab States, concluded in February 2017, entered into force on 14, October 2019, after the completion of the ratification by three Arab countries, namely Saudi Arabia on 1 November 2018, Egypt on 25, March 2019, and Jordan on 14 July 2019.