What is a committed business lines as defined by the WTO?

The term “committed business lines” is often used in the context of a country’s commitments under the World Trade Organization (WTO). Committed business lines refer to the specific sectors or industries that a country has committed to opening up to foreign competition and investment under the terms of its WTO membership.

When a country joins the WTO, it is required to submit a list of its committed business lines, which outlines the sectors or industries in which it has agreed to reduce or eliminate trade barriers and provide foreign investors with equal treatment to domestic investors. This list is commonly referred to as the country’s “Schedule of Commitments.”

The purpose of committed business lines is to promote trade liberalization and increase foreign investment by providing greater certainty and transparency to businesses and investors about the opportunities and rules of the market in the WTO member country. By committing to open up certain sectors or industries to foreign competition, countries hope to attract more foreign investment, increase economic growth, and improve living standards.

Examples of committed business lines can vary by country, but they often include sectors such as manufacturing, services (e.g., telecommunications, finance, transportation), and agriculture. In some cases, countries may also commit to reducing trade barriers in specific sub-sectors or industries within these broader categories.

It’s worth noting that committed business lines are not the only sectors or industries open to foreign competition and investment in a WTO member country. Countries are free to liberalize trade and investment beyond their commitments under the WTO, and many do so to varying degrees.

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