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Timothy Brightbill Comments on Negotiations for Trade in Services Agreement

Bloomberg BNA
June 14, 2013

Timothy C. Brightbill, a partner in Wiley Rein’s International Trade Practice, was quoted yesterday in a Bloomberg BNA article about the newly launched Trade in Services Agreement (TISA). The agreement seeks to expand services trade among the United States, the European Union and 20 other members of the World Trade Organization (WTO).

Deputy U.S. Trade Representative Michael Punke—who serves as U.S. ambassador to the WTO—said in a June 12 speech that participants in the two-month-old TISA talks are working to establish the fundamental architecture of the agreement, Bloomberg BNA reported. The plurilateral TISA negotiations, involving 22 WTO members, contrast with multilateral talks such as the Doha Round in which all 159 WTO members participate.

After the speech, Mr. Brightbill told Bloomberg BNA he agrees with Amb. Punke that TISA is a valuable and important effort, even as a plurilateral agreement. “One of the main reasons that the WTO Doha Round stalled is because countries like China, Brazil and India were not willing to make necessary commitments to open their markets further on a multilateral basis,” he said.

“The TISA is a way to move forward, and to open markets worldwide, even without all countries participating,” Mr. Brightbill added. “And if the agreement is comprehensive and innovative, eventually other countries will want—or need—to join it.”

The agreement must include serious commitments from all 22 participating countries; otherwise, the benefits risk being minimal and Congress would have difficulty supporting the agreement in the end, Mr. Brightbill said.