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Mode 4 trade in services: promoting temporary labour mobility via the trade détour?

Innovation: The European Journal of Social Science Research

Werner Raza

London, Oktober 2017 | DOI: 10.1080/13511610.2017.1383148

A comprehensive process of the liberalisation of trade and capital flows notwithstanding, neoliberal globalisation has not been equally successful in freeing the international movement of labour. With the General Agreement on Trade in Services, (GATS), the WTO set up a novel legal framework within the domain of trade politics that includes the cross-border movement of natural persons to deliver services, labelled Mode 4, thus aiming at the promotion of temporary labour mobility. This article seeks to explain the emergence of Mode 4 and its subsequent development as the outcome of a particular politics of scale motivated by the interests of transnational capital as well as the strategic selectivity of specific institutional terrains. The result has been a compromise that restricts Mode 4 liberalisation to highly qualified personnel only.

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