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Making Trade in Services Supportive of Development in Commonwealth Small and Lowincome Countries

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This Economic Paper assesses new innovative measures in trade in service negotiations that reflect the vulnerabilities and challenges faced by developing countries. It outlines the approaches that can help small and lowincome countries employ the Special and Differential Treatment Arrangements provided under the WTO GATS in a manner that is practical and supportive of their economic development.

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Summary

Special and differential treatment (SDT) is applied rather differently in the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) than in other World Trade Organization (WTO) agreements, in which it often takes the form of less rigorous obligations and/or additional time for implementation. The GATS, in contrast, imposes the same general obligations on all members, developed and developing, and gives no additional time to developing countries for implementation. Instead, the GATS provides extreme flexibility in terms of the number of market-opening commitments, the time for implementation of those commitments and the limitations that can be placed on them. Regional trade agreements (RTAs) also offer a great degree of flexibility. This can be viewed as a form of SDT.

English

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