Member of the European Parliament Marietje Schaake (ALDE/D66) wants the Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA) to strengthen the rules-based international trading system. Tomorrow, the European parliament will vote on a report about this agreement. Schaake: "Worldwide, Europe is the biggest exporter of services, such as financial, legal or consultancy services, but also maritime and air services. Other countries often have protectionist rules and bureaucratic hurdles which make it difficult for European companies to access their markets. The TiSA, which is being negotiated by 23 countries and the EU, should be used to break open new markets for European companies." 'Servicification' and digitisation Services make up around 70 percent of the European economy, but only around 20 percent of its exports. The expectation is that the importance of the services sector will only grow in the coming years, also because of increasing digitisation of the economy. Schaake: "The old rulebook for the international trade in services dates from 1995, before the proliferation of the internet. Nowadays, any small company can offer services abroad via a website. We need to make sure that these companies can actually enter the market in another country. That is especially important because it is predicted that most of the global growth the coming decennia will happen outside the EU. Accessing new markets is crucial for European small and medium companies." Concerns There are also concerns about TiSA, for example when it comes to data protection legislation and public services, like education or healthcare. Schaake: "In the European Parliament's report we clearly state that the agreement must not compromise EU laws on data protection and that public services must be excluded. The European Commission has already given guarantees to that effect, but Parliament will hold them to those promises when it comes to ratifying TiSA. At the same time, we want to improve the transparency and make sure that more texts are made public." The text of the report, as voted in the International Trade committee, can be found here. Yesterday, there was a debate about TiSA in Parliament, Schaake's intervention can be found here.