The General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS)
applies to all trade in services, including legal services. In August 2006, ABA House of Delegates voted to adopt Report and Recommendation 105
submitted by the Standing Committee on Professional Discipline regarding General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) disciplines on domestic regulation. The policies: (1) support the efforts of the U.S. Trade Representative to encourage the development of transparency disciplines on domestic regulation in response to Article VI (4) of the GATS requiring the development of "any necessary disciplines" to be applicable to service providers; and (2) support the U.S. Trade Representative's participation in the development of additional disciplines on domestic regulation that are: (a) "necessary" within the meaning of Article VI (4) of the GATS; and (b) do not unreasonably impinge on the regulatory authority of the states' highest courts of appellate jurisdiction over the legal profession in the United States.
Prior to the adoption of Report 105, the ABA lacked specific policies about GATS disciplines on domestic regulation that would enable it to provide requested advice to the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR). Because of the important interests at stake for the legal profession in the GATS negotiations, the Standing Committee felt that it was essential that the ABA adopt such policies to ensure that the USTR receives the benefit of the Association's expertise as its trade negotiators work within the WTO to develop any disciplines.
For the text of Report and Recommendation 105 and more information about GATS, including background information, commentary and updates about the negotiations between the countries, including the United States, that are subject to the agreement as members of the World Trade Organization.