has been suggested by some NGOs with a special interest in the area of
public services ľ for example, by Education International and Public
Services International in a joint publication of June 1999 ľ that
the implementation of the GATS might result in the abolition of public
funding for national institutions, on the ground that it undermines
free trade. Such concerns are unfounded. There has never been any
proposal, or even debate, in the WTO services context concerning the
abolition of public funding: WTO Members could certainly never agree
to that. (In their subsequent publication, dated September 2000, PSI
made no reference to this issue. We very much appreciate the
cooperation with PSI which made it possible to clarify this point.)
so far as subsidies are concerned, at present the GATS contains no
specific rules. However, a country providing a subsidy to national but
not to foreign suppliers of a service committed in its schedule must
have entered a national treatment limitation to that effect.
GATS has no implications for the funding or subsidy of services
provided in the exercise of governmental authority. Negotiations are
under way on subsidies "with a view to developing the necessary
multilateral disciplines" to avoid distortive effects on trade.
Whatever disciplines are developed will not apply to governmental
services, because these are simply outside the scope of the GATS.