Trade Hub Workshop Equips Region for Trade in Services Negotiations
The SATH Trade in Road Freight Services Workshop, held in Johannesburg, South Africa from September 27 to 28, welcomed over 30 participants from Botswana, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania and Zambia. The workshop enabled private sector representatives, transport officials and trade officials to engage in a dialogue on trade in services in the road freight sector in the SADC region for the first time.
With the Southern African Development Community's (SADC) trade in services negotiations set to commence on six priority services sectors in 2012 (transport, tourism, telecommunications, construction, financial services and energy-related services), the workshop provided road freight transport stakeholders with a forum to understand the issues at stake for the sector in negotiations process.
The workshop specifically sought to
- Provide stakeholders from the Ministries of Trade and Transport and the private sector with an opportunity to discuss the findings SATH's Diagnostic Report on Road Freight Transport Services;
- Allow stakeholders to provide feedback on SATH's identified interventions and proposed activities in the sector;
- Inform stakeholders' of the issues identified in the road freight transport sector which are likely to arise in the SADC Trade in Services negotiations; and,
- Introduce Regulatory Impact Assessments (RIAs) as a tool for stakeholders to analyze the impact of proposed regulatory changes in the sector.
The most significant output from the workshop was the creation of linkages between the trade and transport communities. The discussions laid the framework for future coordination between SADC's trade and transport policies with the aim of achieving a liberalized, transparent and predictable road freight transport market.
The workshop also served to bridge the information gaps between the trade and transport stakeholders.
- For the trade in services officials, the event provided insights into the Protocol on Transport; an appreciation of progress made on the Protocol's liberalization agenda; an analysis of exactly how trade in road freight transport services is taking place in the region; and first hand exposure to the views and concerns of regulators and the private sector.
- From the perspective of the transport officials, it provided an opportunity to understand the Trade in Services Protocol, the way in which trade in transport services would be treated in the trade in services negotiations and the role transport officials would be required to play in these negotiations and in a liberalized market.
- • The road freight transport private sector gained an appreciation of how trade in services takes place for its industry; how such trade is analyzed from a trade in services perspective; the issues they need to consider in preparing for negotiations and the role they need to play in the process.
Beyond the possibilities for deeper engagement among the different stakeholder groups and strengthening of participants' technical knowledge, SATH received input on ways to partner with stakeholders to deliver specific technical assistance projects for the road freight transport services sector. Proposed interventions include support for undertaking national consultations on the road freight transport sector in preparation for the negotiation of SADC trade in services commitments; conducting regulatory impact assessments on issues related to the sector; trainings on performing regulatory impact assessments; and executing country specific diagnostic studies on the road freight transport sector.
Introduction to USAID and the Trade in Services Program - Natasha Ward
Challenges Facing the Road Freight Transport Services Industry - Barney Curtis