As part of the annual series of OECD Services Experts Meetings, the Trade Directorate, in cooperation with the World Bank and the International Organization for Migration, organized a seminar on trade and migration. The seminar, which was held in Geneva on 12-14 November 2003, focused on the temporary movement of service suppliers under mode 4 of the WTO General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS). The meeting brought together for the first time trade and migration officials from 98 countries and from a wide range of international organizations, as well as representatives of business and civil society.
Mode 4, which has emerged as a major topic in the current WTO negotiations, raises a number of important and complex issues that go beyond the sphere of trade policy into the realm of migration policy and practices. The seminar responded to the need to build greater understanding between the trade and migration policy communities of the opportunities and challenges related to mode 4 movement. This meeting represented an important opportunity for an informal exchange of views between trade and migration policy-makers in a non-negotiating environment.
The agenda of the seminar was structured around three main issues. First, it explored the relationship between trade and migration, situating GATS mode 4 in the broader context of temporary labour migration. In this context, the meeting looked at existing schemes to facilitate temporary movement at the national, bilateral and regional levels and asked what could be drawn from these schemes for GATS mode 4. Second, it addressed issues related to the management of mode 4 and temporary labour migration more broadly, for both receiving and sending countries. Finally, the meeting explored what progress might be achieved in the current GATS negotiations and potential areas for future work.