Track 1 of the GATS

The Ongoing GATS (Doha) Negotiations

There currently are two "tracks" of GATS activities of which U.S. lawyers should be aware. "Track 1" is the current round of negotiations to further liberalize trade in legal services. Article XIX of the GATS requires WTO Member States to engage in ongoing negotiations to further liberalize trade in services.

GATS Agreement: GATS Article XIX(1) states:

"In pursuance of the objectives of this Agreement, Members shall enter into successive rounds of negotiations, beginning not later than five years from the date of entry into force of the WTO Agreement and periodically thereafter, with a view to achieving a progressively higher level of liberalization. Such negotiations shall be directed to the reduction or elimination of the adverse effects on trade in services of measures as a means of providing effective market access. This process shall take place with a view to promoting the interests of all participants on a mutually advantageous basis and to securing an overall balance of rights and obligations."

Current Doha Round Negotiations

Most of the GATS negotiations have occurred through a bi-lateral request-offer process. In December 2005, however, in the Hong Kong Ministerial Declaration, WTO Members agreed on a framework and timetable for filing plurilateral requests.

Offers by Other WTO Member States [in which a WTO Member indicates how it might alter its Schedule of Specific Commitments if satisfied with the movement by other WTO Members]

Requests by WTO Member States [in which a WTO Member asks another WTO Member to make changes in its Schedule of Specific Commitments. Requests are generally considered confidential government-to-government documents and not publicly available. See section below on U.S. Related Doha Documents for requests directed to the U.S.]

U.S.-Related Doha Round Requests and Offers

The U.S. Offer

U.S. Communications

Legal Services Requests from the U.S. to Other WTO Members

Legal Services Requests Directed to the U.S. by Other WTO Members

Office of the U.S. Trade Representative Consultation Process

ABA Policies Relevant to the GATS Legal Services Negotiations

WTO and Other Documents that Provide Guidance in Making GATS Commitments

1994 WTO Legal Services Commitments

Other Issues Related to GATS Track #1 and the Doha Market Access Negotiations


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