A database on trade in services will shortly be developed and run by the World Bank and the WTO.
The new database will include a number of different sectors such as finance, tourism, law, accounting, and telecommunication in over a hundred different countries.
The first version of the database has just been made available to the public as part of the WTO’s Integrated Trade Intelligence Portal (I-TIP) Services portal.
According to the WTO “the Integrated Trade Intelligence Portal (I-TIP) provides a single entry point for information compiled by the WTO on trade policy measures. Containing information on over 25,000 measures, I-TIP covers both tariff and non-tariff measures affecting trade in goods as well as information on trade in services, regional trade agreements and the accession commitments of WTO members. Its aim is to serve the needs of those seeking detailed information on trade policy measures as well as those looking for summary information.”
There are four different modules that are presented in the data, covering:
- “Members’ commitments under the WTO’s General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS)”
- “Commitments on trade in services in regional trade agreements”
- “Members’ applied measures affecting trade in services; and services statistics”
Everyone will have access to the new database (policy makers, trade negotiators and also people in the general public). Currently, trade data is made publicly available by the World Bank and the WTO under the Open Data Initiative.
In trade services it’s very important to have transparency, especially considering the complex regulatory framework and lack of information that is available to the public.
More than 25 percent of all world trade is conducted via cross-border trade in services and this figure is excluding international transactions through foreign affiliates.
The new arrangement by the World Bank and the WTO will produce a joint database combining legal commitments, trade policy reviews (TPRs) or trade monitoring reports with applied policies from the Services Trade Restrictions Database.
The two institutions will work together to ensure that that the database is always up to date.