ServicesSMEsTrade in services

Trade Policy for SMEs from a GATS Perspective

Adlung, Rudolf and Marta Soprana (2017), Trade Policy for SMEs from a GATS Perspective, in Thilo Rensmann (eds), Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises in International Economic Law, Oxford University Press

Unlike conventional trade agreements, the scope of the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) extends beyond the treatment of products to cover that of suppliers (producers, distributors, etc) as well. Trade problems confronting small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) supplying services have thus been raised by WTO Members at different stages of the Doha Round negotiations and meetings of regular WTO bodies. However, such issues have rarely been explored in a systemic way. This chapter provides an overview of SME-related policies, whether reflected in schedules of services commitments or consisting of ‘non-schedulable’ measures, which are being pursued by WTO Members at multilateral (GATS) or regional level. It also seeks to identify the scope for further initiatives to promote SME-related interests, from fostering compliance with existing transparency disciplines under the GATS to advancing the Agreement’s liberalization and rule-making mandates with an SME focus.