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The General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) calls for successive rounds of negotiations in pursuit of progressive liberalization of trade in services.
The current round was launched in 2000, and subsequently incorporated into the Doha Round in 2001.
The United States is focused on obtaining commitments to
(1) maintain current levels of market openness, and
(2) remove significant trade impediments, such as local presence requirements, foreign equity limitations, and limitations on forms of establishment.
Services are the fastest growing sector of the global economy and account for two thirds of global output, one third of global employment and nearly 20 percent of global trade.
Services also promise the biggest gains from liberalization. In some studies, the expected gains from services liberalization for the global economy exceed those from goods liberalization by a factor of five.
These gains would help boost the economy of the United States, the world’s largest services exporter, with over $1.3 trillion in annual cross-border and foreign-affiliate sales.