Topics handled by WTO committees and agreements
Issues covered by the WTO’s committees and agreements

Services trade

Ranging from architecture to voice-mail telecommunications and to space transport, services are the largest and most dynamic component of both developed and developing country economies. Important in their own right, they also serve as crucial inputs into the production of most goods. Their inclusion in the Uruguay Round of trade negotiations led to the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS). Since January 2000, they have become the subject of multilateral trade negotiations.

See also:
Services negotiations

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The GATS covers all services, with few exceptions.

Services sectoral classification list

Business and professional services

Accountancy services

Advertising services

Architectural and engineering services

Computer and related services

Legal services


Communication services 

Audiovisual services

Postal and courier, express mail services


Construction and related services

Distribution services

Educational services

Energy services

Environmental services

Financial services

Health and social services

Tourism services

Transport services 

Air transport

Land transport

Maritime transport

Services auxiliary to all modes of transport

Movement of natural persons


News  back to top


Introduction to services trade and the GATS  back to top

Services — rules for growth and investment
A first explanation, in “Understanding the WTO”, the introduction to the WTO.

GATS: objectives, coverage and disciplines
A more in-depth look, in question-and-answer form.

Introduction to GATS
Download in PDF format (16 pages; 253KB; opens in a new window).
> Consult the Guide to downloading files.

Interactive course: General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS)


The mandate  back to top

Browse or download the text of the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) from the legal texts gateway. The GATS is the first multilateral, legally binding set of rules covering international trade in services. See also related instruments.

Find decisions of WTO bodies concerning the GATS in the Analytical Index — Guide to WTO Law and Practice

Schedules of commitments and MFN exemptions

  • Introduction, with links to retrieve commitments and exemptions from Documents Online
  • Services Database
    You can use this database to retrieve the services schedule for a Member, or to compare services commitments across Members. The database does not include data on current negotiations.
  • How to read a schedule

The protocols
Results of Post-Uruguay Round negotiations: on telecommunications, financial services, and movement of natural persons.

The Doha negotiating mandate
Section on services in the 2001 Doha Ministerial Declaration

Hong Kong Ministerial Declaration


Work in the WTO  back to top

The services negotiations A new services round began in early 2000. The mandate, negotiating proposals and developments in the negotiations.

The activities of the Services Council and its subsidiary bodies ... including the Committee on financial services, the Working Party on specific commitments, the Working Group on domestic regulation, and the Working Party on GATS rules.

Post-Uruguay Round negotiations (1994-97) After the 1986-94 Uruguay Round, negotiations on maritime transport, the movement of natural persons, financial services and telecommunications continued.

> Current Chairperson


Disputes  back to top

List of disputes citing the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS)


Data on Services Trade back to top

> Dataset of services commitments in regional trade agreements
> Trade in merchandise and services
> International Trade and Market Access Data
> Services profiles
> Made in the World



This integrated database — a joint initiative of the WTO and the World Bank — consists of information on members' commitments under the WTO's General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS), services commitments in regional trade agreements, applied measures, and services statistics.

> Go to I-TIP Services



> Seminar on Mobile Banking (27 November 2014)


> Book launch: “WTO Domestic Regulation and Services Trade: Putting Principles into Practice” (7 May 2014)


> WTO, OCTA - first regional workshop on trade in services for the Pacific (5-8 August 2013)


> Workshop on E-Commerce  (17-18 June 2013)

Workshop on Trade in Financial Services and Development (26 June 2012)


Symposium on International Mobile Roaming (22 March 2012)


Workshop on Regulatory Practices (11 April 2011)


Past events


 Publications on services 

> WTO Domestic Regulation and Services Trade


> Manual on Statistics of International Trade in Services

GATS — Fact and fiction
A brochure aimed at debunking the myths and falsehoods surrounding the GATS and the new negotiations.


> A Handbook on Reading WTO Goods and Services Schedules

Opening Markets for Trade in Services: Countries and Sectors in Bilateral and WTO Negotiations


Staff working papers on Services



See also: 

International Trade Centre (opens in new window) — Services trade promotion for developing countries.

Contact and enquiry points  back to top

GATS Article IV contact points are intended to facilitate the access of developing country members' service suppliers to information, and Article III enquiry points to provide information to other WTO members.

Search Documents Online
These links open a new window: allow a moment for the results to appear.

  • Contact and enquiry points notified to the Council for Trade in Services (Document code S/ENQ/78*)    > search    > help
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