ICC Document & publication

ICC recommendations on the movement of natural persons

ICC considers that the need to move professional, technical and managerial personnel across national borders for purposes linked to international trade and investment should be treated as a major issue in the GATS negotiations, and that further progress should be made towards the mutual recognition of professional qualifications.

ICC urges WTO members to make further commitments to improve market access for services under mode 4. ICC strongly supports the objectives adopted at the 4th WTO Ministerial Conference at Doha in November 2001 regarding negotiations on trade in services including movement of natural persons, as provided for under article 1 paragraph 2(d) of the General Agreement on Trade in Services (henceforth referred to as “mode 4” of service delivery in this statement). Businesses across the globe consider that the cross-border movement of key personnel to provide services in foreign markets is an essential component of business strategy in international operations. However, most countries impose administrative requirements such as visa, residence and work permit restrictions, which impede or delay the movement of natural persons for the conduct of business in foreign markets.

ICC therefore notes with satisfaction that Paragraph 15 of the Doha Ministerial Declaration states “The negotiations on trade in services shall be conducted with a view to promoting the economic growth of all trading partners and the development of developing and least-developed countries. We recognize the work already undertaken in the negotiations, initiated in January 2000 under Article XIX of the General Agreement on Trade in Services, and the large number of proposals submitted by Members on a wide range of sectors and several horizontal issues, as well as on movement of natural persons. We reaffirm the Guidelines and Procedures for the Negotiations adopted by the Council for Trade in Services on 28 March 2001 as the basis for continuing the negotiations, with a view to achieving the objectives of the General Agreement on Trade in Services, as stipulated in the Preamble, Article IV and Article XIX of that Agreement. Participants shall submit initial requests for specific commitments by 30 June 2002 and initial offers by 31 March 2003.”

ICC considers that the need to move professional, technical and managerial personnel across national borders for purposes linked to international trade and investment should be treated as a major issue in the GATS negotiations, and that further progress should be made towards the mutual recognition of professional qualifications.

ICC recommendations

ICC is of the view that broader and deeper commitments under mode 4 should be an important element in the liberalization process for trade in services in general. ICC urges all WTO members to submit ambitious offer, and presents the following recommendations to bring about effective market access under mode 4:

– Improve and clarify commitments
– Distinguish between temporary and permanent movement
– Clarify application of “economic needs tests” to mode 4
– Mutual recognition
– Social security contributions