LAWS 354 International Trade Law 2004

The Importance of the Issue of Quantifying Barriers to Trade in Services to the World Trade Organisation as a Whole

Peter Zohrab, 7 December 2004


Powerpoint Presentation



Slide 1

The Importance of the Issue of
Quantifying Barriers to Trade in Services
to the World Trade Organisation as a Whole


Slide 2



Slide 3
  • What is GATS ?

  • What is this presentation about ?

  • What are services ?


Slide 4

What are services ?

The webpage: defines services as follows:

"Services would be the performance of any duties or work for another; helpful or professional activity."


Slide 5

What is GATS ?

The General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) was negotiated in the Uruguay Round.


Slide 6

This Presentation .....


Slide 7

“...most existing measures of services barriers are subject to some uncertainty. The reason is that they are indirect measures of the price-quantity dimensions involved, since services barriers do not readily lend themselves to direct measurement in the same way that tariffs do.”
Robert Stern: “Quantifying Barriers in Trade in Services”


Slide 8


  • Can GATS in fact be effectively incorporated into the WTO framework ?

  • Could its problems with quantification turn out to be a problem for the WTO/GATT as a whole ?


Slide 9

The Quantification Issue


Slide 10
  • Frequency measures

  • Price-Based measures

  • Quantity-Based measures

  • Financial-Based measures


Slide 11

The Importance of Services


Slide 12

“... services are the largest and most dynamic component of both developed and developing country economies. Important in their own right, they also serve as crucial inputs into the production of most goods.”
The WTO website page: Services Trade


Slide 13

“Although reliable statistics on services are few, conventionally measured trade in services is generally agreed to be equivalent in value to about one-quarter of international trade in goods.”
WTO: An Introduction to the GATS


Slide 14

The WTO Context


Slide 15

“countries joining the GATT/WTO neither have significantly different trade from non-members, nor do they experience increases in trade, holding other factors constant.”
Andrew Rose: Do We Really Know that the WTO Increases Trade ?


Slide 16

The World Trade Organisation is not even about trade, anyway !


Slide 17

Two results of World War II:

  1. the ideology called "Political Correctness"

  2. international organisations, such as the UN and its agencies -- and also the WTO



Main reasons for the ITO and GATT :

  • to use trade to increase specialisation and efficiency, thus avoiding another depression, with its negative political consequences

  • to stop trade disputes turning into war


Slide 19



Slide 20
  • RTAs undermine WTO ?

  • USA suspicious of international organisations ?

  • The SMP (Services Measuring Problem) may add to these tensions


Slide 21

On the other hand .....


Slide 22

We learned yesterday that some countries are resisting efforts to link issues.


Slide 23

What do
think ?


Slide 24



Slide 25
  • Agreement Establishing the World Trade Organization.

  • Rose, Andrew: Do We Really Know that the WTO Increases Trade ? MS.

  • Stern, Robert: Quantifying Barriers in Trade in Services, in Bernard Hoekman, Aaditya Mattoo, and Philip English (eds): Development, Trade and the WTO (Washington DC, World Bank, 2002).


Slide 26


Slide 27


Peter Douglas Zohrab

Latest Update

8 July 2020