On December 2, 2021, seventy WTO members announced the successful conclusion of the negotiations within the Joint Initiative on Services Domestic Regulation. The participants acknowledged the conclusion of negotiations on the Reference Paper on Services Domestic Regulation. As of September 2023, the participants are currently in the process of WTO certification by integrating the disciplines outlined in the Reference Paper as additional commitments in their GATS schedules. After this process is completed, these plurilateral agreements will come into effect.
This study aimed to analyze the contents of each article of WTO Services Domestic Regulation, and to present standards for compatibility of domestic regulations with this discipline. Additionally, this study identified domestic best practices related to each article to present how to implement this discipline domestically. In other words, the study presented the general guidelines and detailed checking guides that each official in charge of those domestic regulations should be aware of.
First, in analyzing each article of WTO Disciplines on Services Domestic Regulations, we reviewed their meanings and then identified major matters to be checked and addressed. Subsequently, we analyzed our cases for implementation of the relevant legislations.
Next, we outlined the likely economic impacts based on prior research that estimated tariff equivalents of domestic regulations on services. By implementing the WTO Disciplines on Services Domestic Regulations, we can anticipate (i) an increase in consumer welfare (ii) a boost in foreign direct investment due to the improvement of domestic business environment from enhancement of transparency and predictability of domestic regulations (iii) enhanced competitiveness of domestic firms (iv) improved economy-wide productivity by employing efficient services as inputs, and (v) facilitated outbound activities of domestic firms through improved overseas business environment as a result of the implementation of these Disciplines by other WTO members.
This study has policy implications as it offers comprehensive guidelines and checklists that every government ministry responsible for domestic regulations. This will prepare them for the implementation of the WTO Disciplines on Services Domestic Regulations after its certification process is complete.