WTO Domestic Regulation and Services Trade

image of WTO Domestic Regulation and Services Trade

Domestic regulation of services sectors has a significant impact on services trade liberalization, which is why General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) disciplines are negotiated in the WTO. With the help of analyses and case-studies from academics, regulators and trade experts, this book explores the scope and limits of WTO legal principles to promote domestic regulatory reform. Case-studies discuss country-specific challenges and experiences of regulating important service sectors, such as finance, telecommunications, distribution, legal, education, health, postal and logistics services, as well as the role of regulatory impact assessments. The findings will interest trade officials, policy-makers, regulators, think tanks and businesses concerned with the implications of domestic regulation on access to services markets, and with the opportunities for formulating trade disciplines in this area. It is also a useful resource for academics and students researching regulatory approaches and practices in services sectors.



Reasonableness, impartiality and objectivity

Similar to the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) imposes requirements of reasonableness and impartiality on World Trade Organization (WTO) members with respect to their administration of certain measures. This general obligation of procedural fairness offers a potentially powerful mechanism for ensuring equitable treatment for traded services and service suppliers beyond the substantive disciplines of WTO law, such as those related to discrimination. Yet, the provision has been subject to relatively little extended commentary or jurisprudence, perhaps because of an underlying concern about the sovereignty implications of WTO dispute settlement organs assessing the reasonableness of WTO members’ administration.


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