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1 THE GATS AND "NECESSITY" WTO March 2004 Dale Honeck, WTO.

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Presentation on theme: "1 THE GATS AND "NECESSITY" WTO March 2004 Dale Honeck, WTO."— Presentation transcript:

1 1 THE GATS AND "NECESSITY" WTO March 2004 Dale Honeck, WTO

2 2 "Necessity Tests" in WTO Agreements 4 Necessity tests reflect the balance in WTO agreements between two important goals: –preserving the freedom of Members to set and achieve regulatory objectives through measures of their own choosing; and –discouraging Members from adopting or maintaining measures that unduly restrict trade. 4 Necessity tests typically require that covered measures which restrict trade do not go beyond what is "necessary" to achieve the Member's policy objective.

3 3 "Necessity Tests" in WTO Agreements (cont.) 4 WTO agreements contain a number of "necessity tests". 4 Notably, these include: –Article XX of the GATT; –GATS Articles XIV and VI:4, paragraph 2(d) of Article XII and paragraph 5(e) of the Annex on Telecommunications; –Articles 2.2 and 2.5 of the TBT Agreement; and Articles 2.2 and 5.6 of the SPS Agreement. 4 Each provision must be interpreted in the light of the agreement of which it is part!

4 4 Necessity Tests: Main Elements The measure that is subject to the test; The objective which the measure seeks to achieve; and, The link of necessity between the measure and the objective.

5 5 GATS Article VI:4 4 With a view to ensuring that measures relating to qualification requirements and procedures, technical standards and licensing requirements do not constitute unnecessary barriers to trade in services, the Council for Trade in Services shall, through appropriate bodies it may establish, develop any necessary disciplines.

6 6 GATS Article VI:4 (cont.) 4 Does not impose a direct necessity test on Members. 4 Rather, with respect to the measures within its scope, the provision calls upon Members to negotiate any needed disciplines to ensure that such measures do not constitute unnecessary barriers to trade.

7 7 Accountancy Disciplines 4 The first disciplines developed under the mandate of Article VI:4, the Accountancy Disciplines, contain a necessity test in the form of an obligation. 4 The scope of the measures subject to the test is expressly limited to measures relating to licensing, technical standards and qualifications that are not subject to scheduling under Articles XVI (Market Access) or XVII (National Treatment) of the GATS.

8 8 Accountancy Disciplines: (General Provisions) I 4 Members shall ensure that measures not subject to scheduling under Articles XVI or XVII of the GATS, relating to licensing requirements and procedures, technical standards and qualification requirements and procedures are not prepared, adopted or applied with a view to or with the effect of creating unnecessary barriers to trade in accountancy services.

9 9 Accountancy Disciplines: (General Provisions) II 4 For this purpose, Members shall ensure that such measures are not more trade- restrictive than necessary to fulfil a legitimate objective. Legitimate objectives are, inter alia, the protection of consumers (which includes all users of accounting services and the public generally), the quality of the service, professional competence, and the integrity of the profession.

10 10 Necessity Discussions in the WPDR 4 Legitimate objectives: –Q: Is it possible and, if so, is it necessary, for Members to develop a list of legitimate objectives, either at the horizontal or sectoral level? Conversely, should Members instead focus on listing only "non- legitimate objectives"?

11 11 Necessity Discussions in the WPDR (cont.) 4 Criteria for the necessity test : –Q: How might such terms as "least trade restrictive", "not more trade restrictive than necessary", and "not more burdensome than necessary" be defined? What are their respective trade and legal implications, and how have they been interpreted in the context of other WTO agreements?

12 12 Necessity Discussions in the WPDR (cont.) 4 "Third aspect": –Q: Should the idea that a measure restricting trade be considered necessary only if there is no less- restrictive and reasonably available alternative measure to achieve the same policy objective be added to the necessity test in the Accountancy Disciplines?


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