Employment Effects of Services Trade Reform

Maison de la Paix
Chemin Eugène-Rigot 2, 1202 Geneva, Switzerland

Co-organized with the Graduate Institute (IHEID), the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the World Trade Institute (WTI), and the World Trade Organization (WTO).


  • Driven by spectacular technological advances and the emergence and intensification of global value chains (GVCs), trade in services has been the most dynamic part of global trade over recent years. The concurrent rise of services trade provisions in existing and forthcoming trade agreements bears testimony to their relevance in contemporary international policymaking.

    At the same time, stalled negotiations on services within the context of the WTO and persistent controversies over services provisions in trade agreements such as the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), the Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA), and other regional trade agreements reflect substantial discord on the desirability of services trade rules and their optimal design in international treaties.

    The outcome of these negotiations is critical for employment. Services have been the key driver of job growth in recent years – directly, but also indirectly through their connection with the broader economy. Its share in global employment in 2013 stood at 45%, as opposed to 32% in agriculture and 23% in industry.

    Nonetheless, research on the effects of international trade in services on employment remains scarce. While a growing strand of the literature looks at the links between services trade policy, flows, output and productivity, very little is currently known on labor market outcomes.

    Against this background, CEP, in collaboration with the World Trade Institute at the University of Bern, the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies (IHEID), the World Trade Organization and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, is hosting a workshop on “Employment Effects of Services Trade Reforms” on 25-27 November in Geneva, Switzerland, to dig deeper into the question of how and to what extent services can benefit from removing barriers to trade and how these benefits can translate into positive employment outcomes.

  • Wednesday, 25 November 2015
    20.00 - openWelcome Dinner
    Thursday, 26 November 2015
    8.30 – 9.00Welcoming remarks: Johannes Schwarzer CEP, and Gilles Carbonnier, IHEID
    Session Chair: Mina Mashayekhi, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development
    9.00 – 10.00The Trade and Jobs Nexus in Europe: How Important Are Mode 5 Services Exports?
    Lucian Cernat, European Commission
    Jose Manuel Rueda Cantuche, European Commission
    Nuno Sousa, European Commission
    Discussant: Pierre Sauvé, World Trade Institute
    10.00 – 11.00Labour Market Effects of Unilateral Services Provisions
    Anirudh Shingal, World Trade Institute
    Pierre Sauvé, World Trade Institute
    Discussant: David Kucera, International Labour Organisation
    11.00 – 11.30Break
    11.30 – 12.30Services Imports and Job Polarization
    Emmanuel Milet, University of Geneva
    Farid Toubal, Ecole Normale Supérieure and CEPII
    Discussant: Johannes Schwarzer, Council on Economic Policies
    12.30 – 13.30Lunch
    Session Chair: Anirudh Shingal, World Trade Institute
    13.30 - 14.30A Model of Wage and Employment Effects of Service Offshoring
    Martin Tobal, Banco de Mexico
    Discussant: Marcelo Olarreaga, University of Geneva
    14.30 – 15.30The Impact of Service and Goods Offshoring on Employment: Firm Level Evidence
    Carmine Ornaghi, University of Southampton
    Ilke van Beveren, University of Leuven
    Stijn Vanormelingen, University of Leuven
    Discussant: Sébastien Miroudot, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
    15.30 – 16.00Break
    Policy Panel
    16.00 - 17.30Services Revolution or Premature Deindustrialization? The Role of Services Trade and Policy for Employment
    Chair: Pierre Sauvé, WTI
    - Juan Marchetti, Counsellor, Services Division at WTO
    - Mina Mashayekhi, Head, Trade Negotiations and Commercial Diplomacy Branch at UNCTAD
    - Maximiliano Mendez-Parra, Research Fellow, IEDG, Overseas Development Institute (ODI)
    - Johannes Schwarzer, Fellow at CEP
    17.30 – 18.30Apéro
    Friday, 27 November 2015
    Session Chair: Theresa Carepenter Executive Director of the Graduate Institute's Centre for Trade and Economic Integration
    9.00 - 10.00What Creates Jobs in Global Value Chains?
    Christian Viegelahn, International Labour Organization
    Stefan Kuehn, International Labour Organization
    Discussant: Bruno Antunes / Ralf Peters, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development
    10.00 - 11.00Employment Resilience Through Services Exports
    Pedro Martins, University of London
    Discusssant: Marion Jansen, International Trade Centre
    11.00 - 11.30Break
    11.30 - 12.30Employment Effects of Trade Reform in the Vietnamese Banking Sector
    Huong Dinh, Australian National University
    Discussant: Marc Bacchetta, World Trade Organization
    12.30 - 13.30Lunch
    Session Chair: Johannes Schwarzer, Council on Economic Policies
    13.30 - 14.30Has India Gained by Linking into Global Value Chains? A Labour Market Analysis
    Karishma Banga, University of Manchester
    Discussant: Christian Viegelahn, International Labour Organization
    14.30 - 15.30Closing Session: Services Trade and Employment - What do we know, where do we go?
    Interactive Discussion

    • Ejaz Ghani, Lead Economist at The World Bank
    • Marion Jansen, Chief Economist at International Trade Centre
    • Mina Mashayekhi, Head, Trade Negotiations and Commercial Diplomacy Branch (TNCDB), DITC, UNCTAD
    • Sébastien Miroudot, Trade Policy Analyst at the OECD Trade and Agriculture Directorate
    • Pierre Sauvé, Director of External Programmes and Academic Partnerships at the WTI
    • Johannes Schwarzer, Trade Policy Fellow at CEP

  • All research sessions and the policy panel of the workshop are open to the public. If you are interested in attending one or more sessions of the workshop, please RSVP by indicating your name, affiliation and the sessions you are interested in at [email protected].