The GATS agreement covers four types of cross-border service delivery: Some activist groups believe that the GATS threatens to undermine the ability and authority of governments to regulate business activities within their own borders, the result of the flight of power from the commercial interests of citizens. In 2003, the GATSwatch network published a critical opinion, supported by more than 500 organizations in 60 countries.  At the same time, countries are not required to enter into international agreements such as the GATS. For countries that like to attract trade and investment, GATS adds a degree of transparency and legal predictability. Legal barriers to trade in services may have legitimate political reasons, but they can also be an effective instrument for large-scale corruption.  The GATS agreement has been criticized for replacing the authority of national law and justice with that of an GATS dispute resolution body that conducts closed hearings. Spokespeople for WTO government members have an obligation to reject this criticism because they had previously pledged to recognize the benefits of the dominant trade principles of competition and “liberalization. While national governments have the option of excluding certain services from liberalisation under the GATS, they are also under pressure from international trade interests not to exclude any “commercial” service. Important utilities, such as water and electricity, are most often linked to consumer purchases and are therefore clearly “commercially supplied”. The same is true of many health and education services that some countries are supposed to “export” as profitable industries.  Useful guidance on “How to read a GATS calendar” can be found in the introduction to the GATS (off-site link) on the WTO website. Yes, yes.
If your business is affected by the fact that another WTO member state is not complying with the general agreement on trade in services, contact the Office of Trade Agreements and Compliance (TANC) via the U.S. Department of Commerce`s public emergency number. One of the most important provisions of the GATS with respect to national rules is Article VI:4, which deals with competency requirements and procedures, technical standards and licensing requirements. In order to ensure that measures taken in these three areas do not constitute unnecessary barriers to trade in services, the GATS requires that these requirements be based on objective and transparent criteria and are not “heavier than necessary to ensure the quality of services”. The GATS provides that signatory governments cannot apply licensing requirements or technical standards in a manner that nullifies or compromises the commitments they have made under the agreement.