Most of the reference exceptions (annex to Article 2) Work on this topic began in 2000. When the GATS entered into force in 1995, Members had a unique opportunity to oppose the principle of non-discrimination between the trading partners of a highest-paying Member. The measure for which the exemption was granted is described in a most-favoured-nation exemption list for Members, indicating which Member is subject to the most favourable treatment and whose duration is indicated. In principle, these exceptions should not apply for more than ten years. As required by the GATS, all these exemptions are currently under review to see if the conditions that created the need for these exemptions still exist. And in any case, they are part of the ongoing service negotiations. However, the schedules were only a first step in the complex process of liberalization of trade in services, and many countries continue to set restrictions and conditions for both market access and national treatment. These restrictions are set out in each country`s calendar. The continuation of the ongoing GATS services negotiations aims to remove these restrictions and conditions. Most-favoured-nation treatment: Under Article II of the GATS, members are required to extend immediately and unconditionally to services or service suppliers of all other members “which are no less favourable than the treatment accorded to similar services and service suppliers of another country”. In principle, this amounts to prohibiting preferential arrangements between groups of members in individual sectors or reciprocal provisions restricting access to benefits to trading partners that accord similar treatment. In view of autonomous liberalization (Article 19), countries that have liberalized on their own initiative since the last multilateral negotiations want this to be taken into account in the negotiations on access to the services market. The negotiating guidelines and procedures agreed by Members in March 2001 for the GATS negotiations also call for criteria to take account of such autonomous or unilateral liberalization.
These were adopted on 6 March 2003. These clearly defined commitments are linked: like the linked tariffs on trade in goods, they can only be changed after negotiations with the affected countries. Since the link is difficult, the obligations are virtually guaranteed conditions for foreign exporters and importers of services and industry investors to do business. Assessment of trade in services (Article 19) Preparatory work on this issue began in early 1999. The GATS requires members to assess trade in services, including the GATS objective of increasing developing countries` participation in trade in services. The negotiation guidelines repeat this and require that the negotiations be adapted in response to the assessment. Members generally recognize that the lack of statistical information and other methodological problems make it impossible to carry out an assessment based on comprehensive data. However, they are continuing their discussions with the help of several documents prepared by the Secretariat. Government services are explicitly excluded from the agreement, and nothing in the GATS obliges a government to privatize service industries. In fact, the word privatization does not even appear in the GATS.
Nor does it prohibit state or even private monopolies. In addition to these general commitments, the GATS contains specific commitments that are binding on Members that make such commitments in their schedules (see below). These obligations are not general obligations, but arise from the negotiation process. The two main specific commitments are market access and domestic treatment: General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS): The GATS is a set of legally binding rules for international trade in services. .