Building Consensus

…bringing together stakeholders to raise awareness, build consensus, and increase the development orientation in technical assistance and capacity building on trade and investment

The Geneva Trade and Development Symposium (GTDS)


November 30 - December 2 2009

Session: Trade and Investment in Services: The Way Forward, 2 December 2009

Convened by the International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development (ICTSD), the GTDS was held from 30th November to 2nd December 2009 in parallel to the Seventh Ministerial Conference of the WTO.  The goal of the GTDS was to encourage innovative thinking and analysis on issues related to trade and development for stakeholders to translate them into inputs for future negotiations. The GTDS brought together acclaimed academics, policy researchers and analysts, IGOs and NGOs with expertise and knowledge in development-related issues, parliamentarians and businesses as speakers on panels to stimulate the discussions.

ILEAP organised a session at the GTDS, in collaboration with the European Services Forum (ESF) and ICTSD titled: 'Trade and Investment in Services: The Way Forward'

The session focused on the current challenges in services negotiations, including for developing countries, and explored options for imparting forward movement to them.

Key questions addressed included: Are market opening commitments in services an important ingredient of a successful DDA outcome, as a third market access pillar? Can major WTO Members conclude the round without knowing what will be on the table in services? How can the negotiations best be structured to secure a higher overall level of commitments? Do the services negotiations run the risk of being held back by a lack of progress on outstanding rule-making issues under GATS? How can services negotiations contribute to promoting sustainable development objectives and in particular in delivering meaningful benefits for LDCs and other low-income developing countries? Does the way forward on services trade lie outside the WTO? Are services negotiations yielding better results at the preferential level? How can services negotiations better assist developing countries in improving regulatory outcomes and capitalising on services export opportunities?

For more information on the TDS, see

Aide Mémoire/Agenda