by Eric Leroux
The objective of the Pacific Alliance with respect to trade in services is to “build in a participatory and consensual way an area of deep integration to move progressively towards the free movement of […] services.” The key word in this sentence is “progressively”, and the missing, but (at least) equally important, one is “seriously”.
If one were to speak of the Pacific Alliance’s achievements in the services area in speed terms, one would say that it still is in first gear. Not that this is any different from what is taking place under other trade-liberalizing agreements; to the contrary, the Pacific Alliance is dutifully espousing the existing models reflected in, on the one hand, the NAFTA, and on the other, the GATS. The Pacific Alliance’s services disciplines negotiated thus far draw on both models, using, presumably, what is considered to be the best of both models. The problem is that those two models are now flawed: they no longer reflect the reality of the marketplace, nor truly tackle head-on those issues that will be determinative of real, significant, liberalization of services trade in the coming decades.