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Professor Johanna Jacobsson appeared as a witness before the International Trade Committee of the House of Commons of the UK


Professor Johanna Jacobsson, International and European Law Professor at IE Law School, appeared as a witness before the International Trade Committee of the House of Commons of the United Kingdom on 26 June 2019. She took part to the Committee’s inquiry into UK Trade in Services.

The purpose of the UK Parliament’s inquiry is to examine the main barriers faced by UK services exporters, how the UK should seek to liberalise international trade in services, including negotiating international agreements, and potential domestic policy implications. Through the inquiry, the UK legislators are therefore aiming to understand how to formulate UK’s post-Brexit trade strategy in services.


So far the public discourse in the UK has focused on trade in goods but the UK legislators are now starting to engage with the necessary and difficult task to understand how UK can liberalize services trade once the country is outside the EU. Services trade is of crucial importance to the UK considering that services are taking up a fast-growing percentage of the country’s exports and may cover as much as a half of the exports in the coming years. However, much depends on the international trade rules that UK manages to secure after Brexit.


The oral session of 26 June focused specifically on the so-called Mode 4 of the WTO’s General Agreement on Trade in Services. This area of international trade in services covers the cross-border movement of service suppliers who enter a country to provide a particular service. Mode 4 is of importance to the UK considering the significant value that professional services firms create to the UK economy. The international movement of professionals such as lawyers and accountants is important also for the value creation in other areas of the economy. Moreover, if and when the UK will be in charge of its own trade policy, it will face requests from other countries to liberalize the movement of their service suppliers into the UK.


Information on the UK trade in services inquiry is available here.  

A recording of the oral session of 26 June with the participation of Professor Jacobsson can be accessed here.