governmental authority exclusion

These are articles on the all important exclusion that defines what member government activities can be called "public services" and be excluded from the onerous GATS rules.

Article 1:3

Source - UNCTAD

(UN) short course on GATS dispute resolution.

if they have commitments in those areas, like the US has, the country has to go through the Article XXI procedure to leave GATS jurisdiction.


Is a Healthcare System under the control of the GATS?


Note: A 1998 note from the WTO's ruling Secretariat clarifies healthcare somewhat, making it more restrictive and less ambiguous. Unfortunately it means that "public option" systems like the UK's NHS are more clearly not exempt from GATS or its onerous rules. .

Another Example - education system - Flowchart by A. Verger.


Here is the text.

"For the purposes of this Agreement...

(b) 'services' includes any service in any sector except services supplied in the exercise of governmental authority;
(c) 'a service supplied in the exercise of governmental authority' means any service which is supplied neither on a commercial basis, nor in competition with one or more service suppliers."


Important Reading:

Essay "GATS and Public Services Systems"
by the British Columbian government (this is an extremely informative article) PDF.

A legal analysis, written in a law book style.- its the clearest analysis on Article 1:3 b+c out there.

It will help you understand the US healthcare situation a lot better!

If you are interested in the full story make sure to read the footnotes at its end.  You can actually read the entire thing from this animation.

GATS and Public Services Systems by the Canadian Government


Also, if you want to understand the important Annex on Financial Services, please read the footnotes in the document above and also please read Patricia Arnold's essay here.

Especially her footnotes on it.


This is what's outside of the scope of the GATS


WTO Secretariat. Health and social services: background note by the Secretariat S/C/W/50, 18 September, 1998 (98-3558)

Markus Krajewski's essay is also very much worth reading.

Interpretation of Article I, Section 3 (b) and (c) of GATS - PublicServicesScope - article for CIEL by Markus Krajewski

Another useful explanation.

This is from two South African legal scholars and it was written for the ICTSD, part of the UN.

Public Services and the GATS - (Article by Cassim/Steuart) International Center for Trade and Sustainable Development

This document combines all the US GATS commitments in one file.
US GATS Schedule of Specific Commitments -(combined file made by Public Citizen)

WTO | Services: Guide to reading the GATS schedules of specific Commitments and the list of article II (MFN) exemptions

VIDEO: Scott Sinclair of explains the Governmental Authority Exclusion at the WTO Public Forum on TISA.

GATS and Libraries  (brief) 

Important -

What is a _service supplied in the exercise of governmental authority_ under Article I_3(b) and (c) of the General Agreement on Trade in Services_ _ HighBeam Business_ Arrive Prepared.pdf (excerpt)

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