Categories: Organizations

General Agreement on Trade in Services

The GATS is a contract of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) regulating trade in services. Together with the General Agreement on Trades and Tariffs (GATT 94) and the Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), the GATS is one of the three pillars of the WTO’s multilateral trade system. Among the main principles of the GATS are the most-favoured nation (MFN) treatment and national treatment. The MFN treatment means that countries cannot grant an individual trading partner special favours but instead have to do the same for all WTO members. There are some general exceptions for regional integration agreements. For example, the European Union does not have to grant the trade advantages of its internal market to third countries. The principle of national treatment obligates member states to treat foreign and local providers equally. Government support must also be available to private providers.