Tuesday, January 04, 2005

GATS: Claw Back?

UPDATE: The Inside US Trade article on GATS negotiations includes the statement that:

Another delegation source conceded that many services proponents have tabled initial offers that include very few new commitments or in some cases actually claw back earlier concessions. "If that's the kind of
ambition we can expect, let's pack up and go home," the source said.

Jane Kelsey from ARENA, New Zealand update the NZ government response:

The NZ government has made noises about inserting 'comfort words' in
the late stages of negotiations to 'clarify' its understanding of existing
commitments (esp subsidies), but not seek to claw anything back. It would not
include those words in the original offer because that would send bad messages
(we note that they were signatories to this latest document). We have also
recently pointed out that the internet gambling case undercuts their claim that
they can make such 'clarifications'.

Ellen Gould added:

The US also qualified its museums and libraries commitment to restrict
it to privately funded institutions. Some questions were raised in the TNS
committee about the specifications in the US schedules for advertising services,
but if you go through what these changes involve from what was in the original
US schedule, this isn't actually a rollback.

But maybe they're hinting at the fact that the US government has
said it will withdraw its gambling commitment if the AB upholds the panel
decision in US-Gambling. I don't know if you got to read my analysis of this
decision, but I think it is pretty cataclysmic and could wreck the GATS if
countries dared to pursue the issue with the US.