UK Justice Home Affairs: Least Developed Countries Services Waiver: 2nd December 2015

The Minister for Small Business, Industry and Enterprise (Anna Soubry)
My noble Friend the Minister of State for Trade and Investment (Lord Maude of Horsham) has today made the following statement.

I wish to inform the House that on 16 November 2015 the Government opted in to the Council decision relating to the “LDC Services Waiver” at the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

The LDC Services Waiver is part of the Bali package of measures agreed at the 9th WTO ministerial conference in Bali in December 2013. The waiver allows WTO members to grant preferential treatment to the least developed countries (LDCs) for trade in services; it waives the usual non-discrimination rules of the WTO in order to benefit the poorest members. These preferences are unilateral, non-negotiable and not legally binding.

The Council decision has the effect of establishing the position to be taken on behalf of the European Union within the WTO to notify the preferential treatment that the EU will grant to services suppliers of LDCs. The content of the EU’s notification has been agreed with member states.

These preferences include the provision of services supplied by natural persons from third countries who are present temporarily in order to provide the service in the country where it is supplied, otherwise known as “Mode 4” trade in services. It is the presence of these Mode 4 commitments in the relevant instruments which triggers the UK justice and home affairs opt-in.