Trade Advocacy Fund

TAF grant puts a spotlight on services trade data to aid negotiators

October 31st, 2016 by

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Over the past two years, TAF has been supporting a grant on trade in services aimed at contributing to the increased and more effective participation of developing countries and their associated RECs in multilateral, regional and bilateral services trade negotiations. One of the biggest constraints identified in achieving such an outcome has to do with the availability of services trade data.

Services trade data is of notoriously questionable quality, with concerns (both in developed and developing countries) surrounding accuracy, consistency and availability. While improvements have been achieved in recent years, many developing countries still do not have sufficiently detailed services trade data to underpin services negotiations and policymaking. In particular, available services trade data in low-income countries and LDCs often lack both partner and sector disaggregation. Without this, negotiators and policymakers are hard-pressed to identify what services they are trading with whom, and by extension, where their offensive and defensive negotiating interests may lie. This is especially so in the context of South-South trade (as so-called ‘mirror data’ from developed countries can often be used to shed light on North-South flows).

Through work led by International Lawyers and Economists Against Poverty (ILEAP), CUTS International Geneva and the Centre for the Analysis of Regional Integration at Sussex (CARIS), a ‘Services Data Collection Training Module’ has recently been published to offer guidance and strategies for developing country officials to better collect and compile services trade data. The materials are intended for officials from central banks, national statistical institutes as well as Ministries of Trade, Commerce, Finance and others interested stakeholders.

The module brings together a number of publications commissioned under the TAF grant. Firstly, a training video and accompanying presentation provide an introduction to trade in services data and its related challenges, before going on to review insights about the ‘good practices’ of other LDCs and LICs for improving their trade in services data collection. This is largely drawn from the underlying research paper Identifying Good Practices in LDC/LIC Services Trade Statistics Collection. With a view to providing more practical guidance and strategies for officials to better collect and compile data on services trade, the training module includes a toolkit titled Improving Services Data Collection in Least-Developed and Low-Income Countries. Lastly, to distil and highlight some of the key findings and conclusions of the module for a broader audience, there is the Briefing Paper Services Trade Data in LDCs & LICs: Challenges, “better performers” and pathways for improvement.

The Services Data Collection Training Module, alongside a host of the other project publications and services-related resources, are available for download at www.tradeinservices.net. (Please note user registration is required).

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TAF Projects (December 2013)
Country or Region Grant Title

Implementation Status

Afghanistan Advisory Mission to Afghanistan

Completed

COMESA Advisory Mission to the East and Southern Africa (ESA) Group

Completed

EAC Advisory Mission to the EAC

Completed

Ethiopia Advisory Mission to Ethiopia

Completed

Global Feasibility Study for Advisory Centre on Regional Trade Agreements (ACORTA)

Completed

Global TAF Advisory Event 1

Completed

Lao PDR Advisory Mission to Lao PDR

Completed

Lesotho Advisory Mission to Lesotho

Completed

Malawi Advisory Mission to Malawi

Completed

Multi-Region Advisory Mission to  the AUC

Completed

Nepal Advisory Mission to Nepal

Completed

PIFS Support to Pacific ACP States in EPA negotiations

Completed

Samoa Logistical Support

Completed

Sierra Leone Advisory Mission to Sierra Leone

Completed

Solomon Islands Advisory Mission to the Solomon Islands

Completed

Sri Lanka Advisory Mission to Sri Lanka

Completed

Uganda Advisory Mission to Uganda

Completed

Vanuatu Advisory Mission to Vanuatu

Completed

ACP Call-down Support to the ACP Group in Geneva

Ongoing

Afghanistan Trade Negotiation Training and Capacity Building Support to Ministry of Commerce and Industry

Ongoing

EAC TradeSift Training for EAC Tripartite FTA Negotiations

Ongoing

ECOWAS Trade Capacity Building Programme

Ongoing

ECOWAS WTO Law Advisory Services and Capacity Building

Ongoing

Global Channel 2: Training on WTO Law and Dispute Settlement – ACWL

Ongoing

Global Channel 2: Training on WTO Law and Dispute Settlement – Trapca

Ongoing

Global TAF Advisory Publications/Toolkits

Ongoing

LDC Group Support to LDC Services Waiver

Ongoing

Nigeria Support to Nigeria Ministry of Trade and Investment

Ongoing

PIFS Support to the Pacific ACP States in EPA negotiations

Ongoing

OCTA Support for PACER Plus Negotiations

Ongoing

Solomon Islands Strengthening Trade Negotiation Capacity of Solomon Islands

Ongoing

The Gambia Support to the Ministry of Trade

Ongoing

TMSA Support to Tripartite FTA negotiations

Ongoing

Vanuatu Trade Negotiations Support

Ongoing

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