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Additional info for A Handbook on the GATS Agreement AWTO Secretariat Publication Prepared by the WTO Trade in Services Division
E. used as a back-door means to protect markets). The role of the WTO, and GATS, will be to ensure that the broad economic advantages of multilateral rules and obligations will accrue to electronic supplies, just as they do to other forms of trade. g. on telecom and computer services) submitted thus far by both developed and developing country Members, there is a widely held view that GATS bindings can be used to strengthen countries’ capacity to take advantage of e-commerce and narrow the digital divide.
By the same token, however, it may be necessary to ensure that the benefits from liberalization are not frustrated by ineffective or inconsistent regulation. Many regulatory regimes have evolved in response to immediate problems and challenges, without much thought being given to trade and efficiency considerations. ) and levels of government without much communication, let alone co-ordination. Examples of public policy objectives that might require regulatory support: equitable access, regardless of income or location, to a given service; consumer protection (including through information and control); job creation in disadvantaged regions; labour market integration of disadvantaged persons; reduction of environmental impacts and other externalities; macroeconomic stability; avoidance of market dominance and anti-competitive conduct; avoidance of tax evasion, fraud and so on Governments remain free under the GATS to pursue such policy objectives even in sectors where they have undertaken full commitments on market access and national treatment.
The objective is to minimize the risk of unrelated sectors and legal frameworks being drawn into the matter while at the same time ensuring effectiveness. 29 5 THE ROLE AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF MEMBER GOVERNMENTS THE MINISTRIES AND AGENCIES INVOLVED 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 Handbook on the GATS Agreement AWTO Secretariat Publication Prepared by the WTO Trade in Services Division by World Trade Organization