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Gats Agreement Countries

The General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) is a multilateral agreement that aims to liberalize and promote global trade in services. Signed in 1994 as part of the World Trade Organization (WTO), the GATS covers a wide range of service sectors, including finance, healthcare, telecommunications, and transportation.

The GATS agreement countries are the 164 members of the WTO that have ratified the GATS. These countries have agreed to bind themselves to the provisions of the agreement and to open their service sectors to foreign competition, subject to certain limitations and exceptions.

Under the GATS, countries are required to provide national treatment to foreign service providers, which means that they must treat foreign services and service providers no less favorably than their domestic counterparts. The agreement also includes a « most-favored-nation » (MFN) clause, which requires countries to extend any favorable treatment they give to one trading partner to all other WTO members.

However, the GATS recognizes that certain services may need to be protected for reasons of public policy or national security. As a result, countries are allowed to maintain measures that restrict the entry or operation of foreign service providers in certain sectors, subject to specific conditions and procedures.

To date, many GATS agreement countries have taken advantage of these exceptions to protect their domestic service providers. For example, some countries have restricted foreign investment in their healthcare systems or limited the number of foreign banks that can operate in their financial markets.

Despite these limitations, the GATS has been credited with promoting greater liberalization and competition in the global services market. By opening up their service sectors to foreign competition, GATS agreement countries have been able to access new markets, benefit from new technologies and expertise, and create new job opportunities.

In conclusion, the GATS agreement countries have made a commitment to liberalize and promote trade in services on a global scale. While some limitations and exceptions exist, the GATS has been successful in promoting greater competition and innovation in the services sector. As the global economy continues to evolve, it will be interesting to see how GATS agreement countries adapt to new challenges and opportunities in the years ahead.