World Trade Organisation

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General Agreement on Trade in Services

Good intro here. Alas, GATSwatch is no longer being updated.


  • Oct.02.2006: Bad cop, worse cop. Yet the EU has continued regardless. Peter Mandelson, the EU’s hawkish Trade Commissioner, has pressed for the most extreme market access in the current round, rejecting developing country pleas for flexibility and policy space which would allow them to protect local producers and develop their own industrial base. EU representatives publicly attack developing country delegates for resisting attempts to open up their markets, even threatening to block progress on other fronts if their ambitions are not satisfied. Hardly the mark of a good cop. The same aggression has been evident in the services negotiations. The EU has used the current round of talks to demand extensive liberalisation from developing countries, including the now infamous request that 72 countries commit their water sectors to irreversible liberalization under the #General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS). Developing countries have long complained of the intense pressure brought to bear on them by EU negotiators in the bilateral GATS negotiations, which are held behind closed doors. European negotiators are known for bullying developing countries in these secret meetings, and have earned a reputation in Geneva as the most aggressive players. Perhaps the most important difference between the EU and US lies not in our official representatives or their corporate sponsors but in the popular movements which oppose them. The Trade Justice Movement in the UK brings together millions of people who reject the free trade mantra of the EU, while continental Europe boasts a broad social movement which is viscerally opposed to the EU’s "Lisbon agenda" of competitiveness (EU codeword for neoliberalism). The "Not in Our Name" advert taken out in the Financial Times in Jun.2006 by a coalition of over 70 European groups condemned Peter Mandelson and the EU trade ministers for their continued promotion of a self-serving trade policy. John Hilary, New Internationalist.