Analytical Note, April 2003

Classification Issues in the Current GATS Negotiations: A Review of the Different Proposals and Some Preliminary Considerations.

The main objective of this paper is to review some of the classification proposals that have been submitted so far by various WTO Members in the current GATS negotiations and to assist developing countries in understanding the implications of adopting these different classifications.

After a brief introduction, the paper lists all the existing classification proposals and reviews in greater depth proposals relating to two specific sectors: energy services and construction services. The review of the two sectors includes some preliminary consideration on the implications that can be deduced of these classification proposals at the present stage. Finally, the paper concludes with some general objectives that developing countries may aim to achieve in relation to the classification issues.

This paper does not provide a technical analysis of the energy sector (i.e. it does not deal with the specifics of the oil, gas, electricity, coal and other sectors) but rather attempts to identify the strategic and legal implications for the negotiations, and specifically in terms of market access coverage, of the different proposals.

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