Liberalisation and Universal Access to Basic Services

Telecommunications, Water and Sanitation, Financial Services, and Electricity

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Building on a recent groundbreaking OECD/World Bank seminar, this volume explores whether and how trade liberalisation can contribute to achieving universal service goals and the types of complementary policies required.  It focuses on experiences in four sectors - telecommunications,  water and sanitation, financial services, and electricity. The unique multi-sector perspective taken in this book, together with the national case studies, yield insights which can help countries promote their universal access goals. A horizontal assessment also helps determine how far the current services negotiations in the WTO, under the General Agreement on Trade in Services, can aid the attainment of universal service goals.



Power Sector Liberalisation, the Poor and Multilateral Trade Commitments

This chapter examines how the application of liberal trade principles can complement domestic reform programmes that seek to improve the performance of electric power supply. It argues that trade commitments can strengthen domestic reform initiatives designed to improve the efficiency and performance of electric power systems. With certain caveats, it also finds that trade disciplines in the GATS do not constrain the ability of governments to pursue pro-poor policies intended to improve affordability and access to electricity. The findings suggest that WTO member countries can benefit from trade commitments with ongoing domestic electricity sector reform programmes, if they are made part of an integrated set of policies that include market-based reforms, consumer protection and well targeted safety nets.


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