Regulatory cooperation at the multilateral, plurilateral and European Level in an era of international services markets, applied to a case-study of digital services
PhD student: Mrs Dr I. Willemyns
Promotor: Prof J. Wouters
Duration: 1/9/2015 - 31/8/2019
PhD defence: Leuven, 5/10/2019
The structure of the global economy has substantially changed over the last two decades. Trade now happens through so-called global value chains, with goods and services acting as tasks in these value chains.
This has led to a global increase of trade in services. Because services are increasingly being supplied all over the world, services are more and more affected by countries domestic regulations. Because every country enacts its own regulations and has different regulatory requirements, service suppliers have to adapt their way of supplying the service to the specific country where the service is being supplied. This regulatory incoherence forms a barrier to global services trade. The provisions on services at the level of the World Trade Organization (WTO) do not adequately address this new kind of barrier to trade in services. In recent years, WTO Members have become aware of this gap and have started to implement provisions addressing regulatory cooperation in Regional Trade Agreements (RTAs). However, different RTAs have different approaches and currently there is no international guidance, which leads to a wide range of plurilateral solutions to the same problem. This research will analyse the provisions dealing with regulatory cooperation at the multilateral (WTO), plurilateral level (RTAs) and European level, comparing different approaches and studying whether there is emergence of certain global regulatory principles. These findings will be applied to the regulatory barriers that can be found in a specific part of the services market that is increasingly important: digital services.