What services are covered
What laws are covered
How can services be
What kinds of rules does
What is 'Most Favoured
Nation Treatment' (MFN)?
What does 'Market Access'
and 'National Treatment' mean?
What does 'Progressive Liberalization'
What are 'National Schedules'?
What are 'Negotiating Proposals'?
The General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) is the
first set of multilateral rules covering international trade
in services. It came into effect in 1995 and is being negotiated
under the auspices of World Trade Organization (WTO).
has three main parts: the main text with general principles
and obligations; annexes with rules for specific sectors;
and Member countries' specific commitments to provide access
to their markets. The WTO provides links to the GATS text.
Services are covered by GATS?
GATS considers education as a tradable service. GATS covers
12 service sectors (Business; Communication; Construction
and Engineering; Distribution; Education; Environment; Financial;
Health; Tourism and Travel; Recreation, Cultural, and Sporting;
Transport; "Other".). Two exceptions are services
in the exercise of governmental authority and air traffic
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are laws are covered by GATS?
GATS applies to all measures affecting trade in services.
GATS defines measures as all laws, regulations and practices
from national, regional or local government or non-governmental
bodies exercising powers delegated to them by government that
may affect trade.
can services be traded?
GATS defines 4 ways that all services can be traded based
on modes of supply:
1. Consumption abroad of service by consumers travelling to
supplier country (e.g. students studying abroad);
2. Cross border supply of a service to consumer country without
the supplier (e.g. open and distance education);
3. Commercial presence of a supplier in consumer country (e.g.
offshore foreign universities); and
4. Presence of Natural Persons from supplying country in consuming
country (e.g. professors, researcher working outside their
kinds of rules does GATS have?
GATS has two broad categories of rules. The first category
are general rules
which apply, for the most part, to trade in all services.
The second category are rules
applicable to national commitments in specific service
Rules - Most Favoured Nation Treatment (MFN)
The most significant general rule is that of 'Most Favoured
Nation Treatment' (MFN). MFN means that countries must give
equal and consistent treatment to all foreign trading partners.
WTO describes this as 'favour one, favour all'.
for national commitments - Market Access
& National Treatment:
refers to the degree to which market access is granted to
foreign providers in specific sectors. GATS sets 6 ways of
limiting free market access. These limitations may not be
applied unless their use is clearly provided for in the schedule
of commitments. These limitations include : limitations on
the number of service suppliers, limitations on the value
of transactions, service operations or employees in the sector.
Treatment means equal treatment for foreign and domestic
services or service suppliers.
is Progressive Liberalization?
GATS has rules for Members schedules of specific commitments
('agenda for trade'). Through these schedules successive rounds
of negotiations are foreseen to achieve progressively higher
liberalization of trade in services.
are National Schedules?
Each country must have a Schedule of Specific Commitments
which identifies the service sectors that it is will open
to foreign markets. These commitments also spell out any limitations
on market access and national treatment.
are Negotiating Proposals?
Negotiating Proposals outline the role of government,
rationale/purpose of trade liberalization; benefits of trade
liberalization; public private mix.
Observatory on Borderless Higher Education (2002)
Trade in Higher Education Services: The Implications of
GATS, prepared by Jane Knight. This report
is provided here, courtesy of the Observatory on Borderless
Higher Education. Further resources and information relating
to developments in borderless higher education are available
on the Observatory's website.
The General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS): Objectives,
coverage and disciplines. Prepared by the WTO Secretariat.
Available from the World
Trade Organization 'Services:Gats'.
General Agreement on Trade in Services. Prepared from
the WTO Secretariat. Available from the World
Trade Organization 'Services: Agreement'.
Services: rules for growth and investment. Prepared
by the WTO Secretariat. Available from the World
Trade Organization 'Trading into the future: The introduction
to the WTO.
section is prepared in the framework of the Global
Forum on the International Dimensions of Quality Assurance,
Accreditation and the Recognition of Diplomas. It will be
regularly updated. Please send
us your suggestions.
What is GATS?|
GATS and HE|