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Export Policies and the General Agreement on Trade in Services

Compared to its counterpart in merchandise trade, the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) of 1947, the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) contains a variety of conceptual innovations. In addition to cross-border supply, the Agreement covers three additional types of transactions, i.e. the supply of services via consumer movements abroad as well as the presence of foreign firms and foreign service professionals in the respective markets. At the same time, the GATS accommodates a range of measures, including the use of quantitative restrictions and discriminatory taxes or subsidies, which are clearly constrained under the GATT. Most notably in the current context, the Agreement offers particularly broad scope for various types of export-related interventions, regardless of ensuing market distortions. The social and economic relevance of such measures, not only in sectors such as education or health, but also in producer-oriented services, including transport, telecommunications or finance, is immediately evident. This paper seeks to provide an overview and assessment in the light of relevant GATS provisions and WTO dispute rulings.

Additional Info

  • Type: Working Paper
  • Sector: General
  • Special Focus: Negotiations
  • Geographical Level: Multilateral
  • Published by: WTO - World Trade Organization
  • Year: 2014
  • Language: English