07 Jun 2013

Access Barriers to Services Markets: Mapping, tracing, understanding and measuring

Federica Mustilli / Jacques Pelkmans

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EU and national policy-makers argue that the single services market is a key to EU growth, but that many barriers to services market access remain. Grasping the scope, nature and economic meaning of these barriers, however, has proven rather difficult. This is exactly what the present CEPS Special Report helps the reader to do. We trace all market access barriers in services, as far as the data allow, and attempt to understand their nature and economic meaning (given that they are usually forms of domestic regulation) and discuss aspects of the measurement of restrictiveness. We make a sharp distinction between market access barriers restrictions in a non-EU WTO/GATS environment and intra-EU ones, and demonstrate the significant difference in ambition between the two. The paper specifies in detail the progress made by the EU's horizontal reform in services markets, documenting the removal of many cross-border obstacles to trade in services and establishment. Finally, following these conceptual and descriptive analyses, a brief assessment of access restrictiveness indices is provided for both the non-EU WTO environment and for intra-EU services access barriers.

Federica Mustilli and Jacques Pelkmans are Researcher and Senior Fellow, respectively, in the Regulatory Affairs research unit at CEPS.