Why Do Countries Enter into Preferential Agreements on Trade in Services? Assessing the Potential for Negotiated Regulatory Convergence in Asian Services Markets

Date: April 2014
Type: Papers and Briefs
Series: Regional Economic Integration Working Papers
Author: Sauvé, Pierre; Shingal, Anirudh


More than half of the World Trade Organization-notified services trade agreements in effect since 2008 have involved at least one (South or Southeast) Asian trading partner. Drawing on Baier and Bergstrand’s determinants of preferential trade agreements and using the World Bank’s database on the restrictiveness of domestic services regimes, this paper examines the potential for negotiated regulatory convergence in Asian services markets.

Results suggest that countries within Asia that are more remote from the rest of the world and that have similar economic sizes, greater differences in relative factor endowments compared to the rest of the world, common legal origins, high levels of preexisting trade, and restrictive services regulations are more likely candidates for regulatory convergence.

Authors’ empirical model successfully predicts 10 of the 14 services trade agreements negotiated during 2008–2012 and 88 of the 89 dyads within Asia that lack a service trade agreement.


  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Review of the Related Literature
  • Regulation in Services Trade
  • Methodology
  • Explanatory Variables
  • Data
  • Results
  • Concluding Remarks
  • References