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The Gats and Internet-based Services: between Market Access and Domestic Regulation

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Chapter Summary

The General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) has been in existence for a little more than a decade. The same period has also seen an impressive boom in supply of Internet-based services, mainly due to rapid technological development and new economic opportunities. This chapter discusses the application of the GATS to Internet-based services and explores the legal and policy arguments involved. It analyses the application of GATS to Internet-based services, thus providing a lens through which important issues concerning the GATS can be highlighted. It then reviews the far-reaching implications of the recent US - Gambling dispute for the regulation of (Internet-based) services. It argues that WTO Members need to make a greater effort to delineate the key GATS obligations (market access, national treatment, and disciplines on domestic regulation) in order to provide national law- and policy-makers and trade negotiators with more legal certainty and predictability in the application of GATS.

Keywords: domestic regulation; gambling dispute; General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS); internet-based services; market access; national treatment; policy-makers; trade negotiators; WTO members



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