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Title: The trade in water services: How does GATS apply to the water and sanitation services sector ?
Authors: Bates, R
Issue Date: 2009
Publisher: The University of Sydney
Citation: The Sydney Law Review, 31(1): 121 - 142, Mar 2009
Abstract: This paper explores the potential impact of the General Agreement on Trade in Services (‘GATS’) on the water and sanitation services sector. It argues that water and sanitation require special consideration in the liberalisation debate given their essential role in promoting human health and survival and their position as a human right. GATS has the potential to benefit the sector through creating increased efficiencies and encouraging additional funds to expand dilapidated infrastructure. Conversely, the at times punitive nature of trade laws risk undermining individual human rights and national legislation. At present there is some uncertainty as to how the Agreement will apply to the sector as no WTO Members have nominated their water sectors for liberalisation. The recent US — Gambling decision demonstrates the power of the WTO to define and potentially to extend a Member State’s original commitment. Similarly, it has been argued that certain provisions have the scope to trigger a commitment without the consent of the Member State. This paper argues that given the essential role of water and sanitation, greater certainty must be provided to ensure the effective operation of trade laws, the validity of national legislation and the protection of water consumers.
Description: Copyright @ 2009 The University of Sydney
ISSN: 0082-0512
Appears in Collections:Law
Dept of Politics, History and Law Research Papers

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