Research Handbooks on the WTO series
Edited by Pierre Sauvé and Martin Roy
Chapter 10: A technical barriers to trade agreement for services?
Services are regulated for a variety of reasons. Regulation is typically influenced by political economy forces and may thus at times reflect protectionist motivations. Similar considerations arise for goods, but the potential for protectionist capture may be greater in services as many are self-regulated by domestic industry. The GATT embodies specific disciplines on product regulation in a separate agreement on technical barriers to trade (TBT) encouraging the use of international standards and norms that only impact on trade to the extent necessary to achieve the regulatory objective. The GATS does not include similar disciplines. We discuss reasons for this discrepancy and assess whether consideration should be given to seeking to adopt TBT-type disciplines that apply to trade in goods.
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