The COMESA Policy Organs in recognition of the importance of trade in services agreed to undertake negotiations in various services sectors. The services sector has its foundations in the COMESA Treaty and the Regulations on Trade in Services as well as in the negotiating guidelines. The objectives of the negotiations include the need to improve the living standards of the people of COMESA through promoting the competitiveness of the region, universal access, consolidation of the internal market, free movement of factors and inputs of production, strengthening of services sectors, and the effective and beneficial participation of service suppliers particularly micro and small scale enterprises in regional trade in services. it also encompasses the progressive achievement of the free movement of services, labour and persons, the recognition of the right of establishment and residence, and the establishment of the single market.
Trade in services is the supply of a service in accordance with Article 26 and 27 of the COMESA Regulations on Trade in Services. Further, Member States agreed to undertake a negotiating process of opening up selected bands of priority services, in two phases. In the first phase, the Member States agreed to prepare, negotiate and finalize schedules of commitment in four key priority services sectors, namely: transport, financial services, communications and tourism. In the second phase, it was agreed that offers would be prepared in three additional sectors of energy, business, as well as construction and related engineering. In both cases, the process involves the preparation of draft national schedules of commitments in each sector, which are then submitted for negotiations at the regional level.
In the RISM case, Member States are expected to submit a draft final schedule of intra-regional services to be liberalized and a timetable for their liberalization.