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Trade: International Cooperation

Volume 487: debated on Monday 9 February 2009

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform whether the EU's proposals for Mode 4 of the General Agreement on Trade in Services include numerical limits in regard to the number of workers who could be granted entry to the UK. (253505)

[holding answer 2 February 2009]: The current EU services offer in the DDA negotiations proposes a system of numerical ceilings for the temporary entry of highly-skilled foreign professionals in the categories of contractual service suppliers and independent professionals in a limited number of services sub-sectors.

For the UK, the current offer retains the option of a numerical ceiling for contractual service suppliers and independent professionals for only one sub-sector—computer and related services.

The offer, setting out the strict criteria for entry in all categories and in all services sub-sectors committed, is in the public domain and can be found on the WTO website. However, the offer remains incomplete. It does not yet contain either numbers or modalities. These remain to be worked out in the negotiations.