Concluding the WTO Services Negotiations on Domestic Regulation – Walk Unafraid
21 Pages Posted: 25 Aug 2009
Date Written: August 24, 2009
The negotiations under the aegis of the World Trade Organization (WTO) on the creation of rules governing domestic regulations which affect trade in services have entered a critical stage. Within a general atmosphere of reflection and reluctance characterizing the Doha negotiations, this is the only front in the recent years where real progress is evidenced. This Note critically analyzes the current rules that Members appear to support and attempts to identify their shortcomings as well as those modifications or clarifications which are necessary to improve the impact and efficacy of the forthcoming rules (so-called ‘disciplines on domestic regulation’ in the GATS parlance). Being the area where the most important barriers to trade in services are located, domestic regulations can only be harnessed through transparent and good-governance rules enhancing service suppliers’ procedural rights when they seek access to a given market and increasing their participation to domestic decision-making. At the heart of the Note lies a thought-provoking proposal for a necessity test applicable across services sectors. Arguably, only a necessity test can allow for the elimination of unnecessary barriers to trade in services through domestic regulations.
Keywords: World Trade Organization (WTO), General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS), trade in services, domestic regulations, trade negotiations, necessity test, regulatory transparency, private parties' rights
JEL Classification: F02, F13, F15, F14, F51, K33, L8
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation