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  • Cited by 1
  • Print publication year: 2003
  • Online publication date: September 2009

5 - Approaches to further liberalization of trade in services

Summary

The General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) was a bold and long-overdue innovation that provides a framework for continuing reform. However, there is widespread agreement that the current GATS is in need of improvement in several important areas. These include both the rules and the modest degree of liberalization achieved or committed to so far under the agreement (see, for example, Hoekman 1996; Snape and Bosworth 1996; Feketekuty 1998; Snape 1998; Sauvé and Stern 2000). With the agreement to broader negotiations reached in November 2001 at Doha, the prospects of a successful conclusion to the negotiations on services have substantially increased. The purpose of this chapter is to help identify better approaches to achieving this objective.

Substantial progress has now been made in the current round of negotiations on trade in services to identify approaches that might be used for further reform. Since the meetings of the WTO Council on Trade in Services in December 2000, there has been broad agreement that the negotiations should be based on the broad “architecture” of the GATS, and should aim to include all service sectors. It is also clear that there is a great deal of support for reciprocal, “request and offer” approaches to the negotiations and that there may be “credit” for autonomous liberalization. Requests for market access were to be submitted by June 30, 2002 and initial offers of market access by March 31, 2003, with a stocktaking at the Mexico Ministerial in mid-2003 and a target date for completion of January 2005.

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