On this page:
- Article I Scope and Definition
- Article II Most-Favoured-Nation Treatment
- Article III Transparency
- Article III bis Disclosure of Confidential Information
- Article IV Increasing Participation of Developing Countries
- Article V Economic Integration
- Article V bis Labour Markets Integration Agreements
- Article VI Domestic Regulation
- Article VII Recognition
- Article VIII Monopolies and Exclusive Service Suppliers
- Article IX Business Practices
- Article X Emergency Safeguard Measures
- Article XI Payments and Transfers
- Article XII Restrictions to Safeguard the Balance of Payments
- Article XIII Government Procurement
- Article XIV General Exceptions
- Article XIV bis Security Exceptions
- Article XV Subsidies
- Article XVI Market Access
- Article XVII National Treatment
- Article XVIII Additional Commitments
- Article XIX Negotiation of Specific Commitments
- Article XX Schedules of Specific Commitments
- Article XXI Modification of Schedules
- Article XXII Consultation
- Article XXIII Dispute Settlement and Enforcement
- Article XXIV Council for Trade in Services
- Article XXV Technical Cooperation
- Article XXVI Relationship with Other International Organizations
- Article XXVII Denial of Benefits
- Article XXVIII Definitions
- Article XXIX Annexes
- Annex on Article II Exemptions
- Annex on Movement of Natural Persons Supplying Services Under the Agreement
- Annex on Air Transport Services
- Annex on Financial Services
- Second Annex on Financial Services
- Annex on Negotiations on Maritime Transport Services
- Annex on Telecommunications
- Annex on Negotiations on Basic Telecommunications
Part VI: Final Provisions
A Member may deny the benefits of this Agreement:
(c) to a service supplier that is a juridical person, if it establishes that it is not a service supplier of another Member, or that it is a service supplier of a Member to which the denying Member does not apply the WTO Agreement.back to top
For the purpose of this Agreement:
the territory of a Member for the purpose of supplying a service;
(i) from or in the territory of that other Member, or in the case of
maritime transport, by a vessel registered under the laws of that
other Member, or by a person of that other Member which supplies the
service through the operation of a vessel and/or its use in whole or
in part; or
(g) “service supplier” means any person that supplies a service;(12)
(h) “monopoly supplier of a service” means any person, public or
private, which in the relevant market of the territory of a Member is
authorized or established formally or in effect by that Member as the
sole supplier of that service;
2. accords substantially the same treatment to its permanent residents as
it does to its nationals in respect of measures affecting trade in
services, as notified in its acceptance of or accession to the WTO
Agreement, provided that no Member is obligated to accord to such
permanent residents treatment more favourable than would be accorded
by that other Member to such permanent residents. Such
notification shall include the assurance to assume, with respect to
those permanent residents, in accordance with its laws and
regulations, the same responsibilities that other Member bears with
respect to its nationals;
(l) “juridical person” means any legal entity duly constituted
or otherwise organized under applicable law, whether for profit or
otherwise, and whether privately-owned or governmentally-owned,
including any corporation, trust, partnership, joint venture, sole
proprietorship or association;
(o) “direct taxes” comprise all taxes on total income, on total capital or on elements of income or of capital, including taxes on gains from the alienation of property, taxes on estates, inheritances and gifts, and taxes on the total amounts of wages or salaries paid by enterprises, as well as taxes on capital appreciation.back to top
The Annexes to this Agreement are an integral part of this Agreement.back to top
3. The Council for Trade in Services shall review all exemptions granted for a period of more than 5 years. The first such review shall take place no more than 5 years after the entry into force of the WTO Agreement.
7. A Member shall notify the Council for Trade in Services at the termination of the exemption period that the inconsistent measure has been brought into conformity with paragraph 1 of Article II of the Agreement.
Lists of Article II Exemptions
[The agreed lists of exemptions under paragraph 2 of Article II will be annexed here in the treaty copy of the WTO Agreement.]back to top
Annex on Movement of Natural Persons Supplying Services Under the Agreement
1. This Annex applies to measures affecting natural persons who are service suppliers of a Member, and natural persons of a Member who are employed by a service supplier of a Member, in respect of the supply of a service.
2. The Agreement shall not apply to measures affecting natural persons seeking access to the employment market of a Member, nor shall it apply to measures regarding citizenship, residence or employment on a permanent basis.
3. In accordance with Parts III and IV of the Agreement, Members may negotiate specific commitments applying to the movement of all categories of natural persons supplying services under the Agreement. Natural persons covered by a specific commitment shall be allowed to supply the service in accordance with the terms of that commitment.
4. The Agreement shall not prevent a Member from applying measures to regulate the entry of natural persons into, or their temporary stay in, its territory, including those measures necessary to protect the integrity of, and to ensure the orderly movement of natural persons across, its borders, provided that such measures are not applied in such a manner as to nullify or impair the benefits accruing to any Member under the terms of a specific commitment.(13)back to top
Annex on Air Transport Services
1. This Annex applies to measures affecting trade in air transport services, whether scheduled or non-scheduled, and ancillary services. It is confirmed that any specific commitment or obligation assumed under this Agreement shall not reduce or affect a Member’s obligations under bilateral or multilateral agreements that are in effect on the date of entry into force of the WTO Agreement.
except as provided in paragraph 3 of this Annex.
4. The dispute settlement procedures of the Agreement may be invoked only where obligations or specific commitments have been assumed by the concerned Members and where dispute settlement procedures in bilateral and other multilateral agreements or arrangements have been exhausted.
5. The Council for Trade in Services shall review periodically, and at least every five years, developments in the air transport sector and the operation of this Annex with a view to considering the possible further application of the Agreement in this sector.
and marketing of air transport services” mean opportunities for
the air carrier concerned to sell and market freely its air transport
services including all aspects of marketing such as market research,
advertising and distribution. These activities do not include
the pricing of air transport services nor the applicable conditions.
reservation system (CRS) services” mean services provided by
computerised systems that contain information about air carriers’
schedules, availability, fares and fare rules, through which
reservations can be made or tickets may be issued.
(d) “Traffic rights” mean the right for scheduled and non-scheduled services to operate and/or to carry passengers, cargo and mail for remuneration or hire from, to, within, or over the territory of a Member, including points to be served, routes to be operated, types of traffic to be carried, capacity to be provided, tariffs to be charged and their conditions, and criteria for designation of airlines, including such criteria as number, ownership, and control.back to top
Annex on Financial Services
Annex applies to measures affecting the supply of financial services.
Reference to the supply of a financial service in this Annex shall
mean the supply of a service as defined in paragraph 2 of Article
I of the Agreement.
the purposes of subparagraph 3(b) of Article I of the Agreement,
if a Member allows any of the activities referred to in subparagraphs
(b)(ii) or (b)(iii) of this paragraph to be conducted by its financial
service suppliers in competition with a public entity or a financial
service supplier, “services” shall include such activities.
any other provisions of the Agreement, a Member shall not be prevented
from taking measures for prudential reasons, including for the
protection of investors, depositors, policy holders or persons to whom
a fiduciary duty is owed by a financial service supplier, or to ensure
the integrity and stability of the financial system. Where such
measures do not conform with the provisions of the Agreement, they
shall not be used as a means of avoiding the Member’s commitments or
obligations under the Agreement.
(b) Nothing in the Agreement shall be construed to require a Member to disclose information relating to the affairs and accounts of individual customers or any confidential or proprietary information in the possession of public entities.
Member may recognize prudential measures of any other country in
determining how the Member’s measures relating to financial services
shall be applied. Such recognition, which may be achieved
through harmonization or otherwise, may be based upon an agreement or
arrangement with the country concerned or may be accorded
Member that is a party to such an agreement or arrangement referred to
in subparagraph (a), whether future or existing, shall afford
adequate opportunity for other interested Members to negotiate their
accession to such agreements or arrangements, or to negotiate
comparable ones with it, under circumstances in which there would be
equivalent regulation, oversight, implementation of such regulation,
and, if appropriate, procedures concerning the sharing of information
between the parties to the agreement or arrangement. Where a
Member accords recognition autonomously, it shall afford adequate
opportunity for any other Member to demonstrate that such
Panels for disputes on prudential issues and other financial matters shall have the necessary expertise relevant to the specific financial service under dispute.
For the purposes of this Annex:
(a) A financial service is any service of a financial nature offered by a financial service supplier of a Member. Financial services include all insurance and insurance-related services, and all banking and other financial services (excluding insurance). Financial services include the following activities:
Insurance and insurance-related services
Banking and other financial services (excluding insurance)
intermediation and other auxiliary financial services on all the
activities listed in subparagraphs (v) through (xv), including credit
reference and analysis, investment and portfolio research and advice,
advice on acquisitions and on corporate restructuring and strategy.
financial service supplier means any natural or juridical person of a
Member wishing to supply or supplying financial services but the term “financial service supplier” does not include a public
government, a central bank or a monetary authority, of a Member, or an
entity owned or controlled by a Member, that is principally engaged in
carrying out governmental functions or activities for governmental
purposes, not including an entity principally engaged in supplying
financial services on commercial terms; or
Second Annex on Financial Services
1. Notwithstanding Article II of the Agreement and paragraphs 1 and 2 of the Annex on Article II Exemptions, a Member may, during a period of 60 days beginning four months after the date of entry into force of the WTO Agreement, list in that Annex measures relating to financial services which are inconsistent with paragraph 1 of Article II of the Agreement.
2. Notwithstanding Article XXI of the Agreement, a Member may, during a period of 60 days beginning four months after the date of entry into force of the WTO Agreement, improve, modify or withdraw all or part of the specific commitments on financial services inscribed in its Schedule.back to top
Annex on Negotiations on Maritime Transport Services
1. Article II and the Annex on Article II Exemptions, including the requirement to list in the Annex any measure inconsistent with most-favoured-nation treatment that a Member will maintain, shall enter into force for international shipping, auxiliary services and access to and use of port facilities only on:
3. From the conclusion of the negotiations referred to in paragraph 1, and before the implementation date, a Member may improve, modify or withdraw all or part of its specific commitments in this sector without offering compensation, notwithstanding the provisions of Article XXI.back to top
Annex on Telecommunications
Recognizing the specificities of the telecommunications services sector and, in particular, its dual role as a distinct sector of economic activity and as the underlying transport means for other economic activities, the Members have agreed to the following Annex with the objective of elaborating upon the provisions of the Agreement with respect to measures affecting access to and use of public telecommunications transport networks and services. Accordingly, this Annex provides notes and supplementary provisions to the Agreement.
Annex shall apply to all measures of a Member that affect access to
and use of public telecommunications transport networks and services.(14)
(i) to require a Member to authorize a service supplier of any other
Member to establish, construct, acquire, lease, operate, or supply
telecommunications transport networks or services, other than as
provided for in its Schedule; or
(ii) to require a Member (or to require a Member to oblige service suppliers under its jurisdiction) to establish, construct, acquire, lease, operate or supply telecommunications transport networks or services not offered to the public generally.
For the purposes of this Annex:
telecommunications transport service” means any
telecommunications transport service required, explicitly or in
effect, by a Member to be offered to the public generally. Such
services may include, inter alia, telegraph, telephone, telex,
and data transmission typically involving the real-time transmission
of customer-supplied information between two or more points without
any end-to-end change in the form or content of the customer’s
communications” means telecommunications through which a company
communicates within the company or with or among its subsidiaries,
branches and, subject to a Member’s domestic laws and
regulations, affiliates. For these purposes, “subsidiaries”,
“branches” and, where applicable, “affiliates” shall be as defined by each Member.
“Intra-corporate communications” in this Annex excludes
commercial or non-commercial services that are supplied to companies
that are not related subsidiaries, branches or affiliates, or that are
offered to customers or potential customers.
In the application of Article III of the Agreement, each Member shall ensure that relevant information on conditions affecting access to and use of public telecommunications transport networks and services is publicly available, including: tariffs and other terms and conditions of service; specifications of technical interfaces with such networks and services; information on bodies responsible for the preparation and adoption of standards affecting such access and use; conditions applying to attachment of terminal or other equipment; and notifications, registration or licensing requirements, if any.
(a) Each Member shall ensure that any service supplier of any other
Member is accorded access to and use of public telecommunications
transport networks and services on reasonable and non-discriminatory
terms and conditions, for the supply of a service included in its
Schedule. This obligation
shall be applied, inter alia,
through paragraphs (b) through (f).(15)
(b) Each Member shall ensure
that service suppliers of any other Member have access to and use of
any public telecommunications transport network or service offered
within or across the border of that Member, including private
leased circuits, and to this end shall ensure, subject to paragraphs
(e) and (f), that such suppliers are permitted:
(iii) to use operating protocols of the service supplier’s choice in the
supply of any service, other than as necessary to ensure the
availability of telecommunications transport networks and services to
the public generally.
(c) Each Member shall ensure
that service suppliers of any other Member may use public
telecommunications transport networks and services for the movement of
information within and across borders, including for intra-corporate
communications of such service suppliers, and for access to
information contained in data bases or otherwise stored in
machine-readable form in the territory of any Member. Any new or
amended measures of a Member significantly affecting such use shall be
notified and shall be subject to consultation, in accordance with
relevant provisions of the Agreement.
(d) Notwithstanding the
preceding paragraph, a Member may take such measures as are necessary
to ensure the security and confidentiality of messages, subject to the
requirement that such measures are not applied in a manner which would
constitute a means of arbitrary or unjustifiable discrimination or a
disguised restriction on trade in services.
(i) to safeguard the public service responsibilities of suppliers of
public telecommunications transport networks and services, in
particular their ability to make their networks or services available
to the public generally;
(g) Notwithstanding the preceding paragraphs of this section, a developing country Member may, consistent with its level of development, place reasonable conditions on access to and use of public telecommunications transport networks and services necessary to strengthen its domestic telecommunications infrastructure and service capacity and to increase its participation in international trade in telecommunications services. Such conditions shall be specified in the Member’s Schedule.
(a) Members recognize that
an efficient, advanced telecommunications infrastructure in countries,
particularly developing countries, is essential to the expansion of
their trade in services. To this end, Members endorse and
encourage the participation, to the fullest extent practicable, of
developed and developing countries and their suppliers of public
telecommunications transport networks and services and other entities
in the development programmes of international and regional
organizations, including the International Telecommunication Union,
the United Nations Development Programme, and the International Bank
for Reconstruction and Development.
(c) In cooperation with relevant international organizations, Members shall make available, where practicable, to developing countries information with respect to telecommunications services and developments in telecommunications and information technology to assist in strengthening their domestic telecommunications services sector.
(d) Members shall give special consideration to opportunities for the least-developed countries to encourage foreign suppliers of telecommunications services to assist in the transfer of technology, training and other activities that support the development of their telecommunications infrastructure and expansion of their telecommunications services trade.
(a) Members recognize the
importance of international standards for global compatibility and
inter-operability of telecommunication networks and services and
undertake to promote such standards through the work of relevant
international bodies, including the International Telecommunication
Union and the International Organization for Standardization.
(b) Members recognize the role played by intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations and agreements in ensuring the efficient operation of domestic and global telecommunications services, in particular the International Telecommunication Union. Members shall make appropriate arrangements, where relevant, for consultation with such organizations on matters arising from the implementation of this Annex.back to top
Annex on Negotiations on Basic Telecommunications
1. Article II and the Annex on Article II Exemptions, including the requirement to list in the Annex any measure inconsistent with most-favoured-nation treatment that a Member will maintain, shall enter into force for basic telecommunications only on:
- 12. Where the service is not supplied directly by a juridical person but through other forms of commercial presence such as a branch or a representative office, the service supplier (i.e. the juridical person) shall, nonetheless, through such presence be accorded the treatment provided for service suppliers under the Agreement. Such treatment shall be extended to the presence through which the service is supplied and need not be extended to any other parts of the supplier located outside the territory where the service is supplied. Back to text
- 13. The sole fact of requiring a visa for natural persons of certain Members and not for those of others shall not be regarded as nullifying or impairing benefits under a specific commitment. Back to text
- 14. This paragraph is understood to mean that each Member shall ensure that the obligations of this Annex are applied with respect to suppliers of public telecommunications transport networks and services by whatever measures are necessary. Back to text
- 15. The term “non-discriminatory” is understood to refer to most-favoured-nation and national treatment as defined in the Agreement, as well as to reflect sector-specific usage of the term to mean “terms and conditions no less favourable than those accorded to any other user of like public telecommunications transport networks or services under like circumstances”. Back to text
Read a summary of the Agreement on Trade in Services
The texts reproduced in this section do not have the legal standing of the original documents which are entrusted and kept at the WTO Secretariat in Geneva.