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New commitments and improvements to existing ones can be scheduled at any time. Background information: Legal Texts: •The GATS: -gats_01_e.htm Other Multilateral Trade Agreements 46
M4: Overview of the WTO Agreements | Exceptions in the GATS Like the GATT, the GATS allows Members to deviate, in certain circumstances, from some of their GATS obligations or commitments and apply measures that restrict trade in services, subject to certain conditions. As you will see, some of the GATS exceptions are similar to those contained in the GATT. GENERAL EXCEPTIONS (ARTICLE XIV). The general exceptions allow WTO Members to depart from their GATS obligations or commitments and take measures that restrict trade in services in order to pursue certain policy objectives. The measures concerned must not be used as a means of arbitrary or unjustifiable discrimination between countries where like conditions prevail or a disguised restriction on trade in services. ECONOMIC INTEGRATION (ARTICLE V OF THE GATS). Likewise Article XXIV of the GATT, Article V of the GATS allows Members to depart from the MFN principle in order to enter into economic integration agreements (EIA) to further liberalize trade in services, subject to certain conditions. Such agreements are also subject to the Transparency Mechanism for RTAs. RECOGNITION (ARTICLE VII OF THE GATS). Article VII allows Members to recognise the standards, educational degrees and other qualifications obtained in another country. Recognition can be conferred autonomously or on the basis of a bilateral or plurilateral agreement/arrangement. PRUDENTIAL MEASURES (ANNEX ON FINANCIAL SERVICES) The Annex on financial services allows the Members to restrict trade in services in order to take measures to protect investors, depositors and policy holders, as well as to ensure the integrity of the financial system (prudential measures). Other Multilateral Trade Agreements 47
M4: Overview of the WTO Agreements | OTHER EXCEPTIONS Security Exceptions (Article XIV bis of the GATS). The wording of Article XIV bis of the GATS is almost identical to Article XXI of the GATT. Balance of Payments Exception –BOPs (Article XII of the GATS). The BOPs exception contained in the GATS allows Members to restrict trade in services in the event of serious BOPs and external financial difficulties. Such restrictions shall, among others, not discriminate among Members, be temporary and not exceed what is necessary to deal with the situation. Waiver. Explained in Module 3 Background information: Legal Texts: •The GATS: -gats_01_e.htm •The Marrakesh Agreement Establishing the WTO –Article IX: -wto_e.htm#articleIX Other Multilateral Trade Agreements 48
M4: Overview of the WTO Agreements | Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights The TRIPS Agreement aims at reducing distortions and impediments to international trade, promoting effective