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Image: International Markets & Trade

General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS)

The General Agreement on Trade in Services took effect with establishment of the World Trade Organization on January 1, 1995. Services cover a variety of sectors, each with distinct characteristics. Services such as banking, insurance, communications, transportation, and legal support are playing an increasingly important role in world trade.

Services have become increasingly significant as intermediate inputs and cost components in the world food system. Trade in services has grown faster than merchandise trade in the past two decades. Trade liberalization in the services sector could have significant implications for the global food system.

As with agriculture, negotiations on services were already almost 2 years old when they were incorporated into the Doha Development Agenda. The aim of the GATS negotiations is to achieve a progressively higher level of liberalization of trade in services.

Other Relevant Multilateral Agreements:

Last updated: Monday, June 04, 2012

For more information contact: John Wainio