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Law School Professor Shi Jingxia Joined “E15 Initiatives” Service Trade Thematic Group as Invited Expert


Recently, Law School Professor Shi Jingxia accepted an invitation from the “E15 Initiatives”, a think-tank initiative located inGeneva, Switzerland (hereinafter referred to as “E15”), to join the Service Trade Thematic Group as an expert advisor.

The world is emerging from the global financial crisis, which began in 2008, into a new era of challenge and opportunity. Global well-being, particularly in developing countries, continues to rise steadily, but old challenges, like inequality and food security, have taken on new dimensions. Further new challenges, such as climate change and the digitalization of the economy, are becoming increasingly relevant. An effective global trade system is crucial to enable a robust world economy and to address 21st century challenges.

The old systemwell performing as it is in many of its functionsis out of date. The E15 Initiative seeks to turn these challenges into opportunities. The initiative, jointly implemented by the International Center for Trade and Sustainable Development (ICTSD) and the World Economic Forum (WEF), engages nine world-class institutions and over 200 experts from academia, legal practitioners, business, and former policy makers, in defining the ideas, strategies and scenarios for how the global trade system can meet the challenges and demands of the world economy and sustainable development.

 

E15 experts are divided into 15 thematic groups, including agricultural, trade and food security, global value chain, regional trade agreement, service trade, innovation and trade, clean energy, natural resources, climate change, digital economy, trade, finance and development, functions of WTO, global trade architecture and others. Moreover, E15 established three task forces to address key horizontal issues across the groups, including subsidiary disciplines, trade regulatory systems and investment policy. These groups will deliver a set of reasonable and highly-effective options for the global trade system at 2025. In this process, experts, decision makers and other stakeholders will be widely engaged in a rich strategic dialogue to create a shared understanding about scenarios for trade and their implications.

In addition to convening world class experts, the E15 Initiative provides venues for dialogue among key influencer communities to help validate ideas, align interests, and strengthen the impetus for change. Ideas from the groups are discussed with Geneva-based ambassadors and trade policy makers and with business and political stakeholders in the World Economic Forums regional and annual meetings in 2014 and 2015. To date, E15 Knowledge Partners include the International Food and Agricultural Trade Policy Council (IPC) in Washington; the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB); the World Trade Institute (WTI); Swedens National Board of Trade; International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) and others.

In the current globalized economy, the service industry accounts for two-thirds of the worlds GDP, and contributes two-thirds of global employment opportunities and 60% of foreign direct investment flows. If calculated on the basis of appreciation, service trade accounts for nearly half of world trade value. Although the service industry is crucial in the world economy, since the WTO Doha Round started, there has been no substantive progress in the negotiations on service trade, including discipline and new multilateral market access. Many new services, such as express delivery, energy and environmental services are not covered by GATS, since GATS service classification has not been updated since 1991.

In fact, negotiations on services in the framework of WTO have been frozen, and there seems to be no sign of progress. In view of this, beginning in 2012, 50 economic entities started plurilateral service agreement negotiations, namedTISA. In addition, during recent years, many states have signed regional trade agreements and investment treaties containing a large number of new services trade rules and negotiation methods. These treaties failed to deeply consider the systemic effects resulting from the multilateral trading system.

In this context, E15 Service Trade Thematic Group will provide a set of concepts and methods on how to carry out international cooperation through the WTO and other integration mechanisms, and expect that these ideas can be developed into concrete proposals, and reflect different approaches and perspectives from different parties.

The fact that Professor Shi Jingxia was invited to join the Thematic Group demonstratesthat her nearly 20 years research achievements have been internationally recognized in the field of trade in services. She recently committed to research on the emerging new rules of international trade in services as well as Chinas coping strategies, which is highly consistent with the task of E15 Service Trade Thematic Group. She was invited to participate in the group meetings to be held in Geneva in November 2014, and will discuss new issues and new rules in the field with global services trade experts.

For further information on E15 Service Trade Thematic Group, please refer to: http: //e15initiative.org/services/.


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