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.
The GATS covers all services, with few exceptions.
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Introduction to services trade and the GATS
Services rules for growth and investment
A first explanation, in Understanding the WTO, the introduction to the WTO.
objectives, coverage and disciplines
A more in-depth look, in question-and-answer form.
Interactive course: General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS)
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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
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
Results of Post-Uruguay Round negotiations: on telecommunications, financial services, and movement of natural persons.
Doha negotiating mandate
Section on services in the 2001 Doha Ministerial Declaration
Trade in services and LDCs
Articles IV and XIX of the GATS provide for “special treatment” for least-developed countries (LDCs). This has been pursued through, among other things, a waiver to allow preferential treatment for LDC exporters of services.
Work in the WTO
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.back to top
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Data on Services Trade
- 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
Contact and enquiry points
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.
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.
- Global Services Summit, Washington D.C. (17 October 2017)
- Advanced Course on Trade in Services (13 October 2017)
- Launch at the WTO of the ôResearch Handbook on Trade in Servicesö, (26 January 2017)
- Trade in Services : The most dynamic segment of international trade
- 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
- International Trade Centre — Services trade promotion for developing countries.