Role and Responsibilities of Member Governments

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5.1 Ministries and Agencies Involved

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The GATS is a relatively new agreement. National administrations thus have less experience in dealing with GATS-related issues than with “traditional” trade problems under the GATT, and they do not normally have a central structure for coordinating their services-related policies. A wide range of ministries and agencies at various government levels may be involved.

Actually, regulation of services often occurs at sub-federal levels (state/province/parish and municipal) or, in some instances (e.g., professional licensing) has been delegated to private sector organisations. A related challenge is the fact that there are some 160 service subsectors involved, which would be difficult to oversee for any central agency. In order to ensure compliance with existing obligations, and to participate effectively in the new round, national administrations may find it useful to create sector — or issue-related working groups. Box E suggests how such groups might be composed.


Box E: Possible Composition of the Government Working Groups

Government Working Group

Government Working Group Composition

Responsible Government Ministries/Agencies

Other Potentially Relevant Bodies

Business services

Industry and Commerce

Real Estate Board
Professional Licensing Registrar
National Research Council

Communication services

Industry and Commerce
Culture and Education

Telecom Regulator
Postal Service Provider
National Film Board
National News Service

Construction and related engineering services

Public Works
Industry and Commerce

Housing Authority
Planning & Zoning Authority

Distribution services

Industry and Commerce
Customs Authority

Planning & Zoning Authority

Educational services

Culture and Education
Industry and Commerce


Environmental services

Industry and Commerce

Waste Disposal Authority
Recycling Authority

Financial services

Central Bank
Insurance/Banking Registrar
Securities Regulator
Pension Fund Regulator


Health-related and social services

Social Welfare
Women & Families

Natural Disaster Agency
Infectious Disease Authority
Vocational Rehabilitation

Recreational, cultural and sporting services

Culture and Education
Parks Authority

National Museum
National Library
National Arts Council
National Film Agency

Tourism and travel-related services

Parks Authority

Planning and Zoning Authority

Tourism and travel-related services

Vehicle Licensing

Port Authority
Airport Authority
Rail operators

Transport services

Vehicle Licensing

Port Authority
Airport Authority
Rail operators

Other services

Utilities Regulator

Public utilities (water, gas, electricity)

Cross-Sector: Modes of Supply & E-Trade

Immigration Authority
Investment Authority
Export Development Authority
Company Registry
Land Title Registry
Industry and Commerce


Cross-Sector: Standards & Professional Credentials

Standards Agency
Employment Standards
Worker’s Compensation Board
Licensing & Work Permits
Ministry of Trade

Professional services associations

Cross-Sector: Co-ordination among Levels of Government

Industry and Commerce


Cross-Sector: Economic and Labour Force Development

Human Resource Development
Human Rights Commission
Taxation Authority
Planning & Zoning Authority
Ministry of Labour


Adapted from OECD, 2002.



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