What is the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS)?

This is part of the agreements within the World Trade Organisation (WTO) aimed at reducing barriers to the trade in services. Most often, these barriers are domestic laws and regulations which restrict the right to offer things such as legal services or be a certified doctor in another country. The GATS does not remove these kinds of barriers but includes more general commitments, such as not restricting the number of foreign firms that may operate in a country and ensuring that foreign firms are not treated any less favourably than domestic ones. GATS rules are much less generous than for the trade in goods and states can generally choose which sectors they will grant access to for foreign services providers.

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