Trade in Services
The comprehensive Uruguay Round of trade negotiations included trade in services in its mandate and the Round eventually led to the establishment of the World Trade Organization
(WTO-OMC) on 1 January 1995 and the coming into force of the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS). At present, the GATS Air Transport Annex covers three so-called "soft" rights, namely aircraft repair and maintenance, selling and marketing of air transport, and computer reservation system (CRS) services. The WTO-OMC's Council for Trade in Services, which oversees the operations of the GATS, is presently reviewing the developments in the air transport sector and the operation of this Annex with a view to considering the possible further application of the Agreement in the sector.
ICAO has maintained an active interest in the evolution of trade in services negotiations. It has discussed this matter at several Sessions of its Assembly. Its current policy is contained in Assembly Resolution A35-18. In addition, the ICAO Council adopted, on 22 November 1999, a Council Resolution on Trade in Services Negotiations addressed to both ICAO Contracting States and the WTO-OMC. The ICAO Secretariat attended and/or monitored closely a number of meetings of the Council for Trade in Services (CTS) of the WTO-OMC which addressed the review and expansion of the GATS Annex and provided substantive contributions to the WTO-OMC Secretariat on the review process. In December 2000, a paper was also presented on ICAO's Role in Facilitating Air Transport Liberalization. The first review was completed by October 2003 and resulted in the Annex remaining unchanged with the next review process to commence at the last regular meeting of the CTS in 2005. The review remains of major significance as a precursor to the negotiations on air transport services where several Member States of the WTO-OMC have tabled negotiating proposals to further possible extension of the GATS coverage.
At the 37th Session of the ICAO Assembly in 2010, the Council reported on its work on trade in services since the 33rd Session and provided information on the review of the Annex on Air Transport Services in the General Agreement on Trade in Services (A37-WP/20).
For more detailed information on ICAO documents relating to trade in services issues, click on an item below.
- World Trade Organization (PDF) – International Trade in Air Transport: Recent Developments and Policy Issues