World Trade Organization General Agreement On Trade In Services
By committing in their timetables to liberalising trade in certain service sectors in one or more of the four types of supply, Member State governments have “linked” these obligations, since tariffs are linked under the GATT. They can only be amended or withdrawn after negotiations with other contracting parties. These negotiations generally involve compensation in the form of trade concessions of similar value. The GATS agreement covers four types of cross-border service delivery: National treatment: the national treatment obligation implies that the member concerned does not apply discriminatory measures in favour of national services or service providers. The most important requirement is not to change, in law or in fact, the conditions of competition in favour of the member`s service sector. Again, the extension of domestic treatment in a given sector may be subject to conditions and qualifications. National Treatment (Article XVII) In areas where a member makes commitments in its timetable, each WTO member is required to give national treatment to service providers in other Member States. This means that the treatment should not be less favourable than the treatment given by the government to its own services and service providers. Evaluation of Trade in Services (Article 19) Preparatory work on this topic began in early 1999. The GATS requires members to assess trade in services, including the GATS objective of increasing developing countries` participation in trade in services.
The negotiating guidelines confirm this, so negotiations must be adapted in response to the evaluation. Members generally recognized that a lack of statistical information and other methodological problems make it impossible to implement an evaluation based on complete data. However, they continue their discussions using several documents prepared by the Secretariat. All services are covered by the GATS, with the exception of those provided by governments on a non-commercial basis (for example. B central banks or social security). The GATS applies not only to the cross-border provision of services to consumers in other countries, but also to the provision of domestic services by foreign suppliers. Article I defines trade in services in four different types of procurement: in certain circumstances, the GATS allows THE governments of WTO member states to restrict trade in services in areas where the member has made specific commitments.