Foreign Policy in Focus

GATS and Woman
By Marceline White, Woman's Edge

Key Points
· Since last December, members of the WTO have continued negotiations to expand the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS)
· GATS aims to dramatically expand the ability of multinational corporations to provide services on a not-for-profit basis and creates a new regulatory framework for trade in services.
· GATS is likely to have a disproportionately negative impact an woman, particularily woman in developing countries.

Key Problems
· US negotiators are promoting a corporate driven agenda that neglects the asymmetries between countries.
· GATS rules threaten to undermine national sovereignty and sustainable development goals.
· Liberalizing services has particularly pernicious and differentiated impacts on woman in the developing world

Key Recommendations
· The USTR should reform its consultative process to incorporate gender and development concerns into its trade policymaking.
· Rules governing international labor mobility should be liberalized
· The USTR should support a pro-development agenda for GATS that would include encouraging safeguards for developing countries and exemptions for health care, public education, water provisioning, and other public welfare needs.

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