International services trade & the WTO

Services trade between countries is regulated by the World Trade Organization (WTO) General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS).

What is the GATS?

The GATS is an agreement signed by all WTO Members that sets out the rules for international services trade. It aims to give all Members equal access to services markets and provide certainty to business.

Under the GATS, each Member specifies the access foreign service providers have to their market and whether they are treated differently to local providers.

The GATS is designed to apply to any type of service in any sector except those services supplied in the exercise of governmental authority. Members retain the right to regulate public services such as water supply, health and education.

The full text of the GATS is available on the WTO website.

What are Australia’s commitments under the GATS?

Australia’s original GATS commitments were made in 1994 as part of the Uruguay Round of negotiations. We have since made several updates to these commitments and offered additional commitments as part of the WTO Doha Round negotiations.

Our commitments are detailed in the documents below. For help understanding GATS schedules, please refer to the WTO website.

What are other Members' commitments under the GATS?

You can search other Members' GATS commitments on the WTO website.

The WTO also has a guide on how to read a GATS schedule.

Where can I find out more about the WTO's role in international services trade?

Visit the Services Gateway on the WTO website.

Last Updated: 11 October 2017


Services Trade and Negotiations Section