Summary: Unlike the movement of capital, the movement of labor across countries remains highly restricted-despite the huge global returns to international labor mobility. According to one estimate, allowing the temporary migration of skilled and unskilled workers equivalent to 3 percent of the workforces of the world's developed countries would increase global welfare by more than US$156 billion a year. The objective of this book is to identify and discuss possible options for increasing services trade through the temporary movement of people, as a complement, not a substitute, to what can be achieved at the World Trade Organization (WTO), regional, and bilateral levels through trade agreement. Bilateral labor agreements (BLAs) could play a complementary role provided they are designed with the aim of promoting services trade through the temporary movement of people and fulfill specific requirements, including requirements that ensure temporariness. In general, such agreements have not been designed to promote trade in services; they have traditionally been tailored to facilitate or manage labor migration flows. The book is divided into two parts. Chapters one to three assess what has been achieved so far in trade agreements in terms of the temporary movement of services providers. They also discuss the pros and cons of using BLAs as possible channels for the expansion of trade in services. Chapter's four to eight use case studies to examine the viability and performance of BLAs as a complement to other efforts to liberalize the temporary movement of people. They are based on the experiences of sending and receiving countries in Europe, North America, the Caribbean, and the Pacific. BLAs can be an attractive option for middle-income countries whose migratory flows are relatively small and do not generate fears in receiving countries. Source country governments should make credible commitments to ensure the temporary nature of these flows. In conjunction with the private sector, they should establish mechanisms for selecting the sectors to promote in target markets.
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