specific commitments

Find a country's Specific Commitments in the GATS on the WTO site.

Pre-configured search for SCs

Learn how to read a GATS schedule.

Countries have agreed to put the WTO in charge of these areas, in perpetuity, instead of their own governments. (unless they buy their way out, see here)

This is to give trade certainty. Until 1995, countries were allowed to set a great many more policies by "voting".

Of course countries are still allowed to make laws in the ever shrinking number of areas that do not conflict with the GATS.

For example, many countries have explicitly excluded their own audio-visual services.

Completely noncommercial services supplied as an exercise of governmental authority are not covered under the GATS.

For example, Canada's single payer system is inherently exempt for now, while the UK's NHS (public option) is not, so may have to be privatized as MFN exemptions are supposed to be 10 years only under Article IX:3 of GATS. If a similar 10 year waiver had been granted to the ACA, its likely expired now.

Similarly with statutory systems of Social Security and Medicare in the US. If they cross certain thresholds.

One has to ask, why did the US create this hazard that was likely to dismantle its own safety net just as the Baby Boom was coming of age?

For example, only as long as Medicare is only for its own market, retired people, who have left the workforce (part of a statutory system of social security) and remains noncommercial in its entirely, onlt then is it exempt from GATS mandatory privatization and the obligations under MFN, etc.

  See the discussions at the end here and here.

This provides an alternative definition that under some circumstances replaces the one in Article I:3 b+c, endangering Social Security, Medicare and all other government subsidized or provided financial services. None of this apples to fully for profit commercial services, supplied by for-profit entities, like for profit health insurance, banking, loans,etc.

See more on subsidies for services of general economic interest and social services here and here.

The governmental authority exclusion means the government itself, is exempt from the rules that require privatization of many of its sectors that are also supplied on a commercial basis by competitors. For example, education and healthcare, security services, water, air (in some markets where it is sold commercially) and health insurance.

This is all way over my head, but who is both knowledgeable and trustworthy?

Certainly not the leadership of either US party.

Nor the investors who hope to make a killing.