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Gats and Domestic Regulation: Balancing the Right to Regulate and Trade Liberalization

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Chapter Summary

The General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS), the World Trade Organization's (WTO) set of multilateral rules governing international trade in services developed during the Uruguay Round, aims at facilitating this shift towards international liberalization by breaking down national barriers. GATS had to strike a balance between trade liberalization and the regulatory autonomy of WTO Members. This chapter explores both parts of the balance. It offers a useful lens through which the content of GATS can be analyzed. It then introduces briefly the general GATS framework. The scope is narrowed to Article VI GATS, which explicitly deals with disciplines on domestic regulations. The analysis of this provision will pick up other provisions that are linked to our discussion and that deeply influence domestic regulation. Finally, it analyses what elements decide that a suitable equilibrium can be reached between trade liberalization and the regulatory freedom of WTO Members?.

Keywords: domestic regulation; General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS); international trade; national barriers; regulatory autonomy; trade liberalization; World Trade Organization (WTO)



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