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Markus Jelitto is Counsellor at the Services Trade Division, WTO Secretariat, Geneva.
Services Trade has been growing continuously over the past three decades and was worth USD 13.3 trillion in 2017. Services value added accounts for almost half of all world trade (goods and services combined). Despite these impressive figures, the 2019 WTO World Trade Report finds that costs of trading services are about twice as high as trade cost for goods. A significant portion of these costs are attributable to regulatory divergence, as well as opaque regulations and cumbersome procedures. Through the development of disciplines on services domestic regulation, a group of currently 63 WTO members has set out to address these cost factors.
Dr Lauren A. Johnston is Research Associate at SOAS China Institute, Visiting Senior Lecturer, Adelaide University Institute of International Trade and Founding Director, New South Economics.
Last month’s inaugural ‘Quad’ – Australia, India, Japan and USA – leaders’ call drew attention to Australia’s Indo-Pacific strategic re-positioning. The “Indo” of that debate has so far focused mainly on ties with Indian Ocean majors - Indonesia and India.
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