WTO group of 67 countries agree to cut red tape in trade in services, Telecom News, ET Telecom

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GENEVA: Sixty-seven members of the World Trade Organization agreed on Thursday to reduce regulations such as licensing requirements on service providers operating in foreign countries, a move that could save $ 150 billion in annual trade costs .

The group of developed countries and some developing countries, from Peru to the Philippines, have committed to greater transparency, legal certainty and a simpler regulatory process with electronic applications and fees. clear and reasonable.

Signatories, also including the US, China and EU members, are a minority of the 164 WTO members, but represent 90% of all trade in services.

The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has estimated that the implementation of more lenient regulations in large G20 countries could reduce trade costs by up to 6%, with annual savings reaching $ 150 billion.

Banking, information technology, telecommunications, architecture and engineering would be among the service sectors that would benefit the most.

The deal aims to clarify for service companies that are often forced to submit multiple paper documents to regulators and are unsure of how their requests are handled.

The European Services Forum, whose members range from Apple to Zurich Financial Services, warmly welcomed the conclusion of negotiations on a deal, saying the industry has been pushing for something like this for more than 20 years.

The agreement included a provision against discrimination between men and women, a first of its kind in a WTO agreement. It also provides for a seven-year transition period for developing countries to comply.

Although a majority of WTO members have not signed the agreement, they are free to do so and their companies would still benefit from the more transparent and efficient regulatory regimes of the 67 participating members.

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