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Domestic Regulation within the Framework of GATS

by Jan Wouters and Dominic Coppens, Institute for International Law Working Paper No 93 - May 2006 1. INTRODUCTION ............................................................................................... 4 2. EXPLORING THE WEIGHING SCALE OF GATS: BALANCING MEMBERS’ RIGHT TO REGULATE AND TRADE LIBERALIZATION ....... 4 3. GENERAL FRAMEWORK OF GATS ............................................................. 7 3.1. SCOPE ............................................................................................................. 7 3.2. GENERAL OBLIGATIONS ................................................................................... 8 3.3 SPECIFIC COMMITMENTS ................................................................................... 9 3.4. GENERAL EXCEPTIONS ................................................................................... 11 3.5. PROGRESSIVE LIBERALIZATION ...................................................................... 12 3.6. INSTITUTIONAL ISSUES ................................................................................... 12 4. ARTICLE VI ON DOMESTIC REGULATION WITHIN THE FRAMEWORK OF GATS ................................................................................... 12 4.1. THE ROLE OF ARTICLE VI IN THE FRAMEWORK OF GATS................................ 12 4.2. ADMINISTRATION AND APPLICATION OF DOMESTIC REGULATIONS.................. 14 4.3. FUTURE DISCIPLINES ON DOMESTIC REGULATION .......................................... 16 4.3.1. The Working Party on Domestic Regulation (WPDR)............................. 17 4.3.2. Disciplines Developed under Article VI:4: the Accountancy Disciplines 19 4.3.3. Key Issues for Future Disciplines........................................................... 21 a) Legal Status of Future Disciplines............................................................ 21 b) Scope of Future Disciplines ..................................................................... 22 1. Type of Measures................................................................................. 22 2. Restricted to Non-Discriminatory Measures? ....................................... 24 3. Unconditional or Conditional Disciplines? ........................................... 35 4. Level of Government ........................................................................... 36 5. Sectoral or Horizontal Level?............................................................... 38 c) Content of Future Disciplines................................................................... 39 1. Transparency disciplines ...................................................................... 39 2. Necessity Test...................................................................................... 41 3. Mutual Recognition.............................................................................. 48 4. Role of International Standards ............................................................ 50 4.3.4. Article VI:5 on Provisional Application ................................................. 51 5. CONCLUSION: BALANCING THE RIGHT TO REGULATE AND TRADE LIBERALIZATION, EQUILIBRIUM REACHED?........................................... 53

Legal Commentary on Article XIX GATS: Progressive Liberalization (GATS' noose?)

Panos Delimatsis Tilburg Law and Economics Center (TILEC); Tilburg Law School - Date Written: 2008 This is written in the format used in law books and its examining the chapters of the GATS which define it's one-way, noose-like "progressive liberalization" of services, making it so deregulation in services committed to in the GATS cant be re-regulated. The US media is suppressing this important fact. (and indeed the entire existence of the GATS) MAX PLANCK COMMENTARIES ON WORLD TRADE LAW, WTO - TRADE IN SERVICES,

Mode 4 trade in services: promoting temporary labour mobility via the trade détour?

By Werner Raza, A comprehensive process of the liberalisation of trade and capital flows notwithstanding, neoliberal globalisation has not been equally successful in freeing the international movement of labour. With the General Agreement on Trade in Services, (GATS), the WTO set up a novel legal framework within the domain of trade politics that includes the cross-border movement of natural persons to deliver services, labelled Mode 4, thus aiming at the promotion of temporary labour mobility. This article seeks to explain the emergence of Mode 4 and its subsequent development as the outcome of a particular politics of scale motivated by the interests of transnational capital as well as the strategic selectivity of specific institutional terrains. The result has been a compromise that restricts Mode 4 liberalisation to highly qualified personnel only. Keywords: political economy, international trade, labour mobility, Mode 4, EU trade policy, services

Politics of scale and strategic selectivity in the liberalisation of public services – the role of trade in services

By Werner Raza. One of the most contentious issues of the neoliberal agenda has been the privatisation of public services. The WTO GATS negotiations over the liberalisation of trade in services, which commenced in the year 2000, led to a strongly contested debate over whether the international level would provide an additional channel for the privatisation of public services. In particular, the position of the European Union was criticised for promoting this agenda. More recently, this question has regained its significance with the start of negotiations for the Trade in Services Agreement and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. Thus, this article seeks to analyse the politics of scale in the field of trade in services and its specific impact upon the liberalisation of public services. By applying a Neo-Poulantzian IPE approach, we propose a typology of (i) scalar forms in trade policy and (ii) of particular liberalisation strategies. Our results suggest that the multilateral level is but one element in a strategic politics of scale, with the former primarily fulfilling the role of locking-in liberalisation gains achieved at other levels, while other scalar forms, in particular bi- and plurilateralism, are primarily used to progressively advance the liberalisation agenda. KEYWORDS: Public services, liberalisation, trade in services, politics of scale, Poulantzas

Urgent-non-partisan Medicare and Social-Security traps for the unwary -proof below

NOTE: WORK IN PROGRESS, please forgive the state of this document, its still being edited and has redundant information! BUT its important, and verifiable fact. URGENT: Both US Presidential candidates have plans to make changes to our current Medicare and Social Security systems that WILL DESTROY THEM . Also commitments we made in the 1990s have put many tens of millions of our best and future jobs in jeopardy. And most deregulatory changes by either party lock in and cant be repealed. Many changes lock in. A little known trade agreement "GATS" literally dooms them unless we leave it immediately.

An entire nation's minds are a horrible thing to waste.

The Global Value Chains ideology of neoliberalism, via GATS, TISA promotes changes which will destroy public higher and its likely eventually even public primary education, its logic is, "If the young people in a country are too expensive to hire, why educate them" saving (oligarchy) greatly on taxes. What is wrong with this picture?

progressive liberalization

the entire text of GATS' 'progressive liberalization' (Part IV) Progressive liberalization (along with similar concepts like standstill/rollback, the ratchet effect, or "trade creep") Lock in all deregulation, preventing re-regulation, nomatter what people vote for in afflicted countries. Once a service has been privatized, countries get a situation that they cannot afford to reverse. This traps them in a race to the bottom whose only endgame is a complete capture of government where government is replaced by corporate rule, because re-regulation of corporations is prohibited by trade treaties. Inhabitants have to move to other countries that have not adopted the particular bad policies yet. But not under Mode 4, because Mode 4 disenfranchises and disempowers workers. There really is no acceptable option.

Who traded who what in the GATS?

Its clear to me that neither Americans nor Britons have even the foggiest idea of what the GATS is or even that it exists. But it does and its one of the main reasons why everything is so broken.

The TISA Initiative: an overview of market access issues (WTO Staff Working Paper, No. ERSD-2013-11)

"Generally speaking, in a positive-list approach to scheduling commitments, market access and national treatment are granted only in the sectors expressly listed by each party in its schedule; for each sub-sector, the parties then indicate the level of commitment granted for each mode of supply. In contrast, in a negative-list approach, market access and national treatment apply fully to all covered service sectors, except to the extent that non-conforming measures (commonly referred to as “reservations”) providing otherwise have been listed in annexes. In other words, under this approach, everything is in principle liberalized unless specified otherwise in the annexes. In a positive-list approach, nothing is liberalized, unless expressly specified otherwise. Negative-list agreements also typically include a 'ratchet' mechanism, which automatically binds future liberalization for remaining existing non-conforming measures."

The Interaction between European and International Liberalisation of International Trade in Banking Services

by Bart De Meester - This is a doctoral thesis, a quite substantial tome, written like a textbook, on banking and the WTO, its particularly useful it seems because the areas I am interested in have gotten examination in the European context - here in the US where the GATS is not well known to put it mildly, perhaps not so much, at least I have not found much. Plus I cant afford to go out buying books on the subject, as they are expensive, really expensive. Anyway, this looks very informative and its quite understandable as these kinds of books go. I'm sure Mr. De Meester will do very well. Thank you!

“That’s All They’ve Got?” (PCGTW 2010) "What Latest WTO Secretariat Paper on Financial Crisis Does and Does Not Say About GATS Disciplines on Financial Regulation"

March 15, 2010 by Todd Tucker and Public Citizen Global Trade Watch: "On February 3, the WTO issued a document that many in Geneva call the “non-response” to over a year of growing questions from WTO member countries and others about the connection between the rules of the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) on financial services and the global economic crisis. 1 Indeed, this was the Secretariat’s first major study 2 in nearly 12 years about the WTO’s financial service rules. 3 The new paper is a disappointment to anyone hoping for a convincing rebuttal to charges that the WTO’s General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) promotes financial services deregulation...

The Scope of GATS and of Its Obligations by Bregt Natens, Jan Wouters

Bregt Natens, Jan Wouters - KU Leuven - Leuven Centre for Global Governance Studies Date Written: August 1, 2013 Abstract The GATS preamble already highlights the inevitable conflict between on the one hand achieving progressively higher levels of liberalization of trade in services in order to expand trade in services and promote growth, and on the other hand the right to introduce new regulation to meet national policy objectives. Hence, it was clear from the outset that the balance between trade liberalisation and domestic regulatory autonomy would be key in interpreting the constructively ambiguous GATS. The outcome of this exercise depends on three factors: the interpretation of (i) GATS’ overarching objectives, (ii) of the general scope of GATS and of the obligations arising from it (and the exceptions to them) and (iii) of the inherent individual flexibility of GATS. Whilst also touching on the first, this contribution mainly focuses on the second factor by addressing the scope of GATS, of its unconditional obligations, of obligations applying to sectors for which specific commitments have been scheduled and of obligations in GATS Annexes. Additionally, it provides an overview of the structure of GATS obligations. The third factor is mainly addressed throughout textboxes which provide an illustrative insight into how the European Union has used the inherent GATS flexibility to shape its obligations. Keywords: WTO, World Trade Organization, GATS, General Agreement on Trade in Services, services, scope, obligations, governmental authority exception