The Council decided on 10 March 2015 to declassify the mandate given to the Commission to negotiate an international agreement on trade in services.
The negotiating directives were made public the same day.
The decision reflects a growing public interest for this plurilateral agreement, which is currently being negotiated by 24 members of the WTO accounting for 70% of world trade in services. The agreement will be based on the WTO's general agreement on trade in services, and is open for other WTO members to join. It is aimed at opening markets and improving rules in areas such as licensing, financial services, telecommunications, e-commerce, maritime transport and professionals moving abroad temporarily to provide services.
The Council agreed the EU's negotiating mandate in March 2013, and the talks started the same month. The Commission is leading the negotiation on behalf of the EU and the member states. Eleven negotiating rounds have now taken place, and there is no set deadline for concluding the talks.
The decision to declassify the mandate was taken by common accord.