DP1150 | Tentative First Steps: An Assessment of the Uruguay Round Agreement on Services


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The General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) is a landmark in terms of creating multilateral disciplines in virgin territory, but is a failure in terms of generating liberalization and locking-in existing policy regimes affecting international transactions in services. There are two key issues that should be addressed in evaluating the GATS. First, what does it do to bind policies? Second, has it established a mechanism that will induce significant liberalization through future rounds of negotiations? This paper concludes that the GATS does not score very high on either dimension. A number of suggestions are made to strengthen the Agreement and support more far-reaching liberalization in the future.