The network’s main stake lies in the liberalisation of the services markets in connection to the WTO GATS negotiations and the EU bilateral trade negotiations.
With a membership of major European companies and European and national trade sector specific associations based in all 27 Member States across the EU, ESF has become a major voice of the European services sector representing more than 30% of total trade (goods and services) of the European Union.
ESF is now widely recognized among stakeholders as the voice of the European service industries. Improved services market access as well as the facilitation of cross-border services provision for European countries in third countries belong to the Forum’s main priorities. Over the past years, ESF’s work has allowed its members to efficiently promote their interests.
Pascal Kerneis has served as Managing Director since ESF’s creation, in 1999. He is in charge of running the ESF Secretariat on a daily basis.Read More
The full list of ESF members is here below:
The various Coalitions of Service Industries listed below are gathered in the unformal Global Services Coalition (GSC), and adopt joint statements or communiqués on case by case basis. GSC also organises missions to Geneva to meet up with Ambassadors and negotiators of WTO countries:
National governments / bodies
Best Policies From ESF
You will find here the various Position Papers adopted by ESF since its inception in 1999, classified by year and month of publication.Read More
ESF has adopted a large number of position papers highlighting the interests of the European services industry with regard to international trade.Read More
You will find here reports on additional ESF activities.
(Work in Progress)Read More
The World Trade Organisation (WTO) was created in 1994 at the outcome of the Uruguay Round of negotiations of the General Agreement of Tariffs and Trade (GATT).
It is at that Ministerial Conference of Marrakesh that was created also the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS).
In this section we will look at the content of the GATS and of the WTO members commitments in trade in services, as well as to the content of the services negotiations that took place afterwards.Read More
The plurilateral negotiations for the Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA) went from 2012 to 2016, but failed in October/November 2016.Read More
At the 11th WTO Ministerial Conference in Buenos-Aires in Argentina in December 2017, in a gloomy atmosphere where no progress seemed possible at multilateral level, like-minded groups of WTO members issued joint statements on advancing discussions on e-commerce, on developing a multilateral framework on investment facilitation, on launching a working group on micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) and on advancing ongoing talks on domestic regulation in services trade.Read More
The European Union concluded a considerable amount of Free Trade Agreements in the two last decades. Between 1999 and 2005, a moratorium prohibited the initiation of any new trade negotiations with EU third countries, giving priority to the multilateral level (WTO and Doha round negotiations). In 2005, the European Union decided that both multilateral and bilateral could be run in parallel.Read More
The dimension of Services Trade
This section will reproduce the country specific statistics that are also posted in the various ESF webpages on the bilateral or multilateral negotiations. Most of the statistics have been updated in the course of 2023, although the Eurostat figures are not all available for the year 2022:Read More