A round of multilateral negotiations on services was launched at the Ministerial Meeting of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in November 2001. In 2006, the European Union has decided upon a new “Global Europe” trade strategy and to pursue regional and bilateral trade and investment agreements in parallel with multilateral efforts. Both the European Commission and the Member States have made clear repeatedly that they would welcome more contributions from business to international trade in services negotiations.
To respond to this call, the European Services Forum (ESF) was created in April 1999 to provide business input for these negotiations and to work closely with the European negotiators as well as with similar counterparts in other countries which share the same objectives.
The ESF is a network of representatives from the European services sector committed to actively promoting the liberalisation of international trade and investment in services. ESF’s main field of activity are the WTO (World Trade Organisation) GATS (General Agreement on Trade in Services) negotiations, the Plurilateral E-Commerce negotiations and the EU’s bilateral trade negotiations on services and investments.
FIEC represents the construction sector in the ESF.