General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS)
The General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) is the first multilateral agreement covering trade in services. It was negotiated during the last round of multilateral trade negotiations, called the Uruguay Round, and came into force in 1995. The GATS provides a framework of rules governing services trade, establishes a mechanism for countries to make commitments to liberalize trade in services and provides a mechanism for resolving disputes between countries.
About the GATS
Similar in principle to the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), which deals with trade in goods, the GATS has two primary objectives: first, to ensure that all signatories are treated equitably when accessing foreign markets; and second, to promote progressive liberalization of trade in services (over time, eliminating trade barriers to enable further participation in one another's markets).
- Access the Full Text of the GATS
- Backgrounder on the GATS
- Canada’s Commitments to the GATS
- Modes of Supply in the GATS: Information Paper
- ARCHIVED - Canada’s Initial Proposal in WTO Services Negotiations (March 2001)
Market Access Phase of Negotiations
The November 2001 Ministerial Conference in Doha set in motion the market access phase of the GATS negotiations and mandated that “participants shall submit initial requests for specific commitments by June 30, 2002 and initial offers by March 31, 2003.” In view of these deadlines, Canada and other WTO Members have submitted initial requests in 2002 and submitted initial offers at the end of March 2003. The documents in this section provide an overview of Canada’s offers under the market access phase.
- GATS - Market Access - EU Enlargement Process (September 2006)
- GATS - Market Access - Plurilateral Requests (February 2006)
- GATS - Market Access - Revised Offer (May 2005)
- GATS - Market Access - Initial Offer (March 2003)
- GATS - Market Access - Initial Request (July 2002)
- GATS - Market Access Phase of Negotiations - Archive of Key WTO Documents
Canada’s GATS Contact Point
Canada’s online GATS contact point provides an avenue through which developing country service suppliers can obtain this information quickly and accurately.
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