Trade in Higher Education and GATS Links

General Information on GATS - Links to basic information on the GATS and GATS commitments by country.

GATS and Higher Education - Links to higher education associations discussions on key controversies surrounding the inclusion of higher education in the GATS negotiations.

GATS and Education -
Links to discussions on the inclusion of education in the GATS negotiations.

Please note that these links aim to provide an overview of the key existing materials on this subject, and are not exhaustive.

General Information on GATS

World Trade Organization (WTO)
The World Trade Organization (WTO) is an international organization dealing with the rules of trade between nations. The GATS is being negotiated under the auspices of the WTO. The WTO website provides links to basic documents concerning the GATS It also provides some background to discussions on GATS.

- Text of the GATS (as html)
- Text of GATS (as .pdf)
- An Introduction to GATS
- GATS: 'Objectives, Coverage and Disciplines'
- Search page for negotiating proposals (see under 'Education')
- Introduction to services trade and the WTO agreement
- Guide to reading the GATS schedules of specific commitments
and the list of MFN exemptions
- Schedules of commitments and MFN exceptions
- WTO : GATS fact and fiction'

The European Union 'GATS Info-Point'
The GATS Info - Point' is developed by the European Commission Directorate General for Trade. This site has clear basic information on GATS and an user-friendly Market Access Database on GATS commitments.

- General information on GATS
- GATS commitments by country
- GATS commitments by sector
- GATS Commitments by type of education

GATS and Higher Education

Joint Declaration on Higher Education and the General Agreement on Trade in Services
This Joint Declaration, signed in September 2001, calls for the respective countries of the associations not make commitments in Higher Education Services or in the related categories of adult education and other education services in the context of the GATS The Joint Declaration was signed by AUCC,
CHEA and EUA, IAU has also endorsed the Joint Declaration.

The Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC)
AUCC represents 93 Canadian public and private not-for-profit universities and university colleges. AUCC is one of the signatories of the Joint Declaration on Higher Education and the GATS.

- Canadian Higher Education and the GATS: AUCC Background Paper
This paper examines the main aspects of the GATS as they relate to trade in educational services. It was developed to help AUCC Members prepare for discussions with government officials and non-government experts on this topic.

The Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA)
The Council for Higher Education Accreditation is a private, non-profit national organization that coordinates accreditation activity in the United States. CHEA represents more than 3000 colleges and universities and 60 national, regional and specialized accreditors. CHEA is one of the signatories of the Joint Declaration on Higher Education and the GATS.

- Finding a Common Voice for Accreditation Internationally
Presentation of Fred M. Hayward for the CHEA's 5th annual conference on Enhancing Usefulness. This Presentation addresses accreditation, quality assurance and trade agreements.
- CHEA and ACE Letter—Comments About Inclusion of Higher Education Service in Pending World Trade Organization Negotiations
Joint letter of June 2001 from CHEA and the American Council on Education to the Assistant US Trade Representative for Services, Investment and Intellectual Property.

European University Association (EUA)
The EUA, as the representative organization of the European universities and the national rectors' conferences, is a main voice of the higher education community in Europe. EUA was one of the signatories of the Joint Declaration on Higher Education and the GATS.

- EUA Activities Related to GATS
EUA background to the Joint Declaration on Higher Education and the GATS signed by the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC), the American Council on Education (ACE), the European University Association (EUA), and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).
- The Bologna Process and GATS Negotiations
EUA memo on the Bologna Process and the GATS negotiations, 10 June 2002, sent to all national Rectors' Conferences.

- Declaration 'Students and universities: An academic community on the move'
Shared vision of EUA and the National Unions of Students in Europe (ESIB) for the future of higher education in Europe. This declaration includes a section on Europe and the Globalisation process.

International Association of Universities (IAU)
IAU brings together institutions and organizations from some 150 countries for reflection and action on common concerns and collaborates with various international, regional and national bodies active in higher education. IAU's Administrative Board endorsed the Joint Declaration on Higher Education and the GATS in November 2001, at its 64th Meeting.

- Joint Declaration on Higher Education and the General Agreement on Trade in Services
Background to IAU's endorsement of the Joint Declaration on Higher Education and the GATS Article in the the IAU Newsletter of March 2002, pages 7-8.
- GATS (WTO) and Higher Education
Links to information and debate on GATS and the implications for higher education. Links also to news and papers on this subject.
- Porto Alegre Declaration
Declaration of the Rectors, Presidents, Directors of Higher Education Institutions and Associations and other academic authorities participating in the III Summit of Iberian and Latin American Public Universities Rectors. (April 27, 2002).
- Plenary Address 'Internationalisation of Higher Education: Policy and Practice'
Speech of Dr Seddoh, Director UNESCO Division of Higher Education at the IAU Lyon Conference of April 2002.

The Observatory on Borderless Education
The Observatory was established by the member institutions of the Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU) and Universities UK to keep abreast on developments in borderless education. Borderless education refers to developments outside the traditional borders of higher education (e.g. elearning, and developing markets). The Observatory provides reports on major issues such as GATS and Higher Education. From July 2002, Observatory services will be subject to subscription charges.

- Trade in Higher Education Services : the Implications of GATS
This report by Dr Jane Knight provides a concise overview of GATS and how it effects trade in higher education. 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.
- Trading Public Good in the Higher Education Market
This report by Frank Newman and Lara K. Couturier discusses the effect of market forces in the field of higher education.

COLUMBUS was created in 1987 as a co-operation programme between European and Latin American higher education institutions. Its main goals are to promote institutional development and multilateral co-operation in order to help universities to better respond to the challenges posed by scarce resources, demands for diversification, and internationalisation.

- 'A Difficult Balancing Act: Higher Education as a Public Good and a Tradeable Service'
Link to documents and presentations from the above meeting held on 5 July 2002. The documents presented include a paper examining GATS and higher education in Latin America by Carmen Garcia-Gaudilla as well as papers from Philip Altbach and the OECD.

The National Union of students in Europe (ESIB)
ESIB is the umbrella organization of 47 national unions of students from 35 countries and through these members represent over 10 million students. The aim of ESIB is to represent and promote the educational, social, economic and cultural interests of students at a European level towards all relevant bodies and in particular the European Union, Council of Europe and UNESCO

- Commodification and GATS
Very thorough section containing the ESIB statement on commodification, links to official WTO documents, as well as ESIB documents and links to views from other organizations

European Student Convention
The European Student Convention (Brussels 16-18 November 2001) brought together 150 European student representatives from 37 countries. The Convention discussed the social dimension of the European Higher Education Area. A workshop on the Commodification of Education was held during this Convention.

- Commodification of Education - Are Students Customers?
Section 6 of the 'Reader' prepared for participants of this Convention examines the social problems and rights of students in a market-oriented view of education. Abode Acrobat is necessary to downloaded this file.

NUFFIC Conference on the Global Education Market
This website provides links to the proceedings of the Netherlands Organization for International Cooperation in Higher Education (NUFFIC) 50th anniversary conference on 'Global Education Market: Shifting Roles, Changing Rules' held in March 2002.

- Issues paper
The paper examines the impact of globalization on the content, quality, accessibility and affordability of higher education.
- Links to background articles for the NUFFIC issues paper.
Links to papers such as :'The GATS Need not be a Disaster' (Ansink); 'The Global Higher Education Market. Not as Simple as a Tiled Roof' (van Dalen); GATS undermining public services worldwide' (Corporate Europe Observer) 'Trade in Education Services Emerging Issues. OECD Working Paper' (OECD)

GATS and Education

Education International
Education International is a world-wide trade union organization of education personnel, whose 25 million members represent all sectors of education from pre-school to university. It is made up of 311 national trade unions and associations in 159 countries and territories.

EI is concerned that proposals for a significant increase in the scope of, and degree of, liberalization of trade, might cover education services. EI's central objective is to have education excluded from the scope of the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS). EI information and support material from EI.
- The WTO and the Millennium Round: What is at stake for Public Education?
This EI/Public Services International (PSI) publication voices common concerns for workers in education and the public sector.
- EI Policies - Trade on Education Services
Key points on Education International policies concerning trade in educational services.

Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)
The OECD groups 30 member countries sharing a commitment to democratic government and the market economy. It also has an active relationships with some 70 other countries, NGOs and civil society. Best known for its publications and its statistics, its work covers economic and social issues from macroeconomics, to trade, education, development and science and innovation.

- OECD Forum on Trade in Educational Services
Proceedings of the OECD Forum on Trade in Educational Services of 23-24 May 2002. This page includes links to conference documents on this topic. This page also has links to related OECD documents including the OECD Working Paper - Trade in Educational Services: Trends and Emerging Issues.

The National Committee for International Trade in Education (NCITE)
NCITE advises the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) on the upcoming round of World Trade Organization (WTO) negotiations related to the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS), as mandated by the Uruguay Round.

- Barriers in Education
Report outlining the barriers to education experienced by US providers. The Centre for Quality Assurance in International Education submitted this report to the Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR) in response to the 14 April 1999 Federal Register notice requesting public comment on negotiations on Market Access and Other Issues in the WTO.

World Bank (WB)
The World Bank Group is one of the world's largest sources of development assistance. In Fiscal Year 2001, the institution provided more than US$17 billion in loans to its client countries. It works in more than 100 developing economies with the primary focus of helping the poorest people and the poorest countries.

- Global Development Finance 2002
This publication highlights recent trends and prospects for the global economy, capital flows, and improvements in policies surrounding aid flows. Discussion includes the role of education in the flow of capital.
- Tertiary Education Strategy Note
Introduction to the World Bank Tertiary Education Strategy Note to guide World Bank Investments in Tertiary education.

The International Labour Organization (ILO)
The ILO is the UN specialized agency which seeks the promotion of social justice and internationally recognized human and labour rights. The ILO formulates international labour standards in the form of Conventions and Recommendations setting minimum standards of basic labour rights: freedom of association, the right to organize, collective bargaining, abolition of forced labour, equality of opportunity and treatment, and other standards regulating conditions across the entire spectrum of work related issues.

- World Commission to Examine Social Impact
The ILO Governing Body has agreed to the establishment of World Commission to examine the social dimensions of globalization. This article also discusses a recent ILO report which highlights the need for better education and skills training for developing nations to exploit the rapidly growing demand for manufactured exports.
- Trade Liberalization and Employment
November 2001 Report of the Working Party on the Social Dimension of Globalization. In-depth discussion of the wide ramifications of trade liberalization.
- Enhancing the action of the Working Party on the Social Dimension of Globalization: Next Steps
Background to the preparation of a report on the social dimensions of globalization. This report would also include the interaction between the global economy and the world of work.

Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC)
The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) was established in 1989 in response to the growing interdependence among Asia-Pacific economies. Begun as an informal dialogue group, APEC has since become the primary regional vehicle for promoting open trade and practical economic cooperation. Its goal is to advance Asia-Pacific economic dynamism and sense of community.

- Measures affecting trade and investment in education services in the Asia-Pacific Region
A report of the APEC Group on Services (2000) which aims to identify measures affecting trade and investment in education services; and study the impact of further liberalizing trade and investment in the education services sector.

Canadian Education Research Information System(CERIS)
CERIS provides information about Canadian education and Canadian research on education.

- The GATS: What is it and how might education services be affected?
Overview of GATS, series of information and further links on the pros and cons of the the WTO trading system prepared by Valérie Pierre-Pierre. Links to further information on Canada and GATS negotiations with a focus on education.


This 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.

Intro| What is GATS?| GATS and HE| Links| Negotiating Proposals