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This book aims to improve understanding of the economic implications of services trade, liberalization, regulatory reforms, and international negotiations. It discusses the basic economics of services trade, cross-sectoral domestic policy issues, and the international negotiating framework, as well as data sources and measures of services trade barriers. It addresses how services reform - including in banking and the broader financial sector, in health, and in key infrastructure sectors such as telecommunications and transport - can promote efficiency, economic growth, and poverty reduction. The book points out that the benefits of services liberalization may be diminished by flaws in reform programs, such as inadequate efforts to introduce competition; failure to strengthen regulation or institute policies that ensure that the poor have access to services in liberalized markets; inappropriate sequencing of reforms; and inadequate foreign assistance to help implement reforms. The ongoing GATS negotiations in the Doha Development Round could help achieve reciprocal liberalization, lend credibility to reform, and help mobilize external assistance to support reform. There may also be greater scope for achieving deeper integration of particular services sectors, and for greater cooperation on temporary migration (mode 4) under regional or bilateral agreements.

Publisher: World Bank

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