The Liberalisation of Trade in Services in MERCOSUR
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The purpose of this thesis is to examine the legal framework for the liberalisation of trade in services in MERCOSUR with a view to identifying the obstacles that stand against it and shed light on the best course of action for securing a realistic degree of liberalisation. The thesis argues that the Protocol of Montevideo on Trade in Services, the rounds of negotiations of specific commitments on Market Access and National Treatment and the secondary rules for specific service sectors adopted so far, have failed to make any significant contribution to ensuring effective market access conditions for MERCOSUR service suppliers and levelling the playing field to compete against domestic incumbents. It claims that for advancing the liberalisation of trade in services, it is necessary for State Parties to look beyond the negotiation of reciprocal concessions for the removal of existing restrictions, and engage on a long-term strategy aimed at bringing about the gradual convergence of domestic legislation affecting trade in services through regulatory co-operation. It also refers to the need for streamlining the operation of the current institutional system by adopting measures aimed at encouraging existing institutions to exercise their power in a more rule-oriented, transparent, accountable and efficient way, without compromising domestic sovereignty to a level unacceptable for State Parties. However, the thesis suggests that the absence of a matrix of converging national interests on MERCOSUR, and the existence of parallel forums for similar purposes at bilateral, regional and multilateral level, compromises its chances for success and wonders whether the effective integration of service markets could ever be achieved.
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