General Agreement Trade In Services

The creation of the GATS was one of the key principles of the Uruguay Round, the results of which came into force in January 1995. The GATS was essentially inspired by the same objectives as its merchandise trade counterpart, the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT): the creation of a credible and reliable system of international trade rules; Ensure fair and equitable treatment of all participants (principle of non-discrimination); boosting economic activity through guaranteed political ties; Promoting trade and development through gradual liberalization. The interests of developing countries have inspired both the overall structure of the agreement and certain articles. In particular, the objective of facilitating the increasing participation of developing countries in trade in services has been enshrined in the preamble to the agreement and is based on the provisions of Article IV. In particular, this article obliges Members to negotiate specific commitments to strengthen the national service capacity of developing countries; Improving developing countries` access to distribution channels and information networks; and liberalizing market access in the areas of interest to these countries. Each WTO member must have a specific timetable of commitments specifying the services for which the member guarantees market access and national treatment, as well as possible restrictions. The calendar can also be used to make additional commitments, for example. B with respect to the implementation of certain standards or regulatory principles. Commitments are made for each of the four types of service delivery. While the overall goal of the GATS is to remove barriers to trade, members are free to decide which sectors will be progressively “liberalized” (i.e. commercialized and privatized); What type of delivery would apply to a particular sector and to what extent this “liberalisation” will take place over a fixed period of time.

Members` obligations are governed by a ratchet effect: obligations are unilateral and cannot be terminated after resolution. The reason for the rule is to create a stable business climate (i.e. a market). However, Article XXI allows members to withdraw their commitments and, so far, two members have made use of this option (the United States and the EU). In November 2008, Bolivia announced that it was withdrawing its health commitments. The commitments contained in the GATS can be divided into two broad groups: general commitments that apply to all members and service sectors and commitments that apply only to sectors in a member`s commitment plan. These obligations are defined in individual timetables, the scope of which can vary considerably from one Member State to another. The relevant terms and concepts are similar, but not necessarily identical to those of the GATT; Domestic processing is, for example, a general obligation in trade in goods and non-negotiable as in the GATS.

Governments are free to decide which service sectors they actually liberalize. Transparency: GATS members are required, among other things, to publish all measures of general application and to set up national investigative bodies to respond to requests for information from other members. No no. The results of the sectoral negotiations are specific new commitments and/or exemptions for the sector concerned. They are therefore not legally independent of other sectoral obligations and are not different agreements from the GATS. New obligations and exemptions from the MFN were included in existing lists and exception lists in separate GATS protocols. The Most Advantaged Nation (MFN) ensures that each signatory country treats the services and service providers of one Member State indiscriminately, no less favourable than those of another country, under the conditions and limits set out in the specific commitment schedule. In addition, the Air Services Annex exempts air duty and service measures directly related to the exercise of these rights.