WASHINGTON – The Office of the United States Trade Representative today announced the intention of the U.S. to join the WTO Joint Statement Initiative on Services Domestic Regulation (DR JSI), and support conclusion of the Initiative by the 12th WTO Ministerial Conference (MC12) in November.
The DR JSI negotiations are an opportunity to improve the transparency and fairness of processes for obtaining licenses to provide services by U.S. professionals such as engineers, architects, and environmental consultants, as well as for U.S. firms in fields such as retailing, express delivery, and financial services. The United States has long championed transparency and fairness of regulatory rules as a fundamental feature of good governance, and views the DR JSI as an opportunity to strengthen such standards around the globe.
The rules under negotiation build on the improvements to transparency and due process in services trade introduced in the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). In a first for the WTO, the negotiations also seek to bar discrimination between men and women in issuing these licenses, recognizing the negative impact such practices have on economic opportunity.
Improved transparency and regulatory processes can support democratic values, open societies, and a worker-centric trade agenda. Today’s announcement reflects the longstanding support of the United States for improving transparency in the WTO, as well as the efforts of other WTO Members to lay the groundwork for progress on a range of issues at MC12.