When it comes to international trade, there are a lot of agreements, regulations, and treaties to take into consideration. One of these is the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS). It’s an important agreement for businesses and countries trading services across borders, and it’s worth understanding what it is and how it works.

What is GATS?

The GATS is a treaty under the umbrella of the World Trade Organization (WTO) that regulates international trade in services. It was introduced in 1995 as part of the Uruguay Round of trade negotiations and covers over 160 WTO member countries.

The aim of GATS is to ensure that trade in services between countries is as open and free as possible. This includes services like banking, insurance, telecommunications, transportation, and professional services. GATS also sets out rules for how countries can regulate these services, including measures related to health, safety, and environmental protection.

How does GATS work?

The GATS framework is based on a series of commitments that member countries make to one another. These commitments are made in the form of “schedules,” which outline the specific services that each country is willing to open up to foreign competition and the conditions under which they will do so.

The schedules are negotiated between countries and can be modified over time as the needs of each country change. GATS also has rules for resolving disputes between countries over trade in services.

Benefits of GATS

The benefits of GATS are numerous. For businesses, it provides a clear framework for conducting international trade in services. This includes access to new markets, protection of intellectual property rights, and the ability to compete on a level playing field.

For countries, GATS promotes economic growth and development by encouraging the expansion of service industries and creating new jobs. It also helps to ensure that essential services like healthcare and education are available to people across the world.


In conclusion, the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) is an important treaty that promotes free and open trade in services between countries. It provides a clear framework for businesses to operate internationally and helps to promote economic growth and development. By understanding GATS and its impact on international trade, businesses can make better-informed decisions about how to expand and compete in the global marketplace.