Trade and Investment Rules for Energy
V. Facilitating Cross-border Movement of Energy Services Personnel
The Task Force recognizes that a multilateral solution to the Mode 4 issue within the WTO would provide the most comprehensive and uniform approach to facilitating the cross-border movement of energy services personnel. Because of the political complications in the Doha Round together with diverse national security and employment concerns, expansion of Mode 4 coverage within the WTO seems unlikely. Thus, more limited initiatives on a regional basis may offer a more practical means of achieving freer movement and entry of energy services personnel.
The Task Force considers it desirable that such initiatives be rooted in accepted guidelines on national security and on screening processes that can be individually verified by governments participating in the scheme, consistent with their own national security requirements. With this proviso in mind, a number of developments lend support to the proposition that progress is achievable.
As a starting point, existing approaches such as the APEC Business Travel Card, currently operational among the 20 APEC member States, could be expanded to other countries and other regions. Critical to the success of the ABTC has been that each State has the ability to accept or reject an individual's application. Consequently, the participating economies maintain accountability of who is authorized to travel in and out of their country. Each applicant also must receive endorsement from a legitimate business or government agency in order to participate.
Other approaches are found in the E.U. program to standardize movement of ICTs (covering 27 E.U. member States). Progress on its deployment should be monitored by WEC to ensure that the measures adequately address the needs of the energy industry. Offering a further reference mode, the U.S. Visa Waiver Program applies waivers to a total of 34 registered countries.
With APEC, E.U. and U.S. measures in place, agreements on facilitating cross-border personnel movement are emerging that, in aggregate, cover a wide geographic area. Each will facilitate trade through the simplified process of moving business personnel. As governments look for ways to stimulate economic growth, these discrete regional solutions provide a step in the right direction. The next step would be to create links between these various regional measures to facilitate movement of ESP through a broader geographic range.