The GATS provided for successive rounds of contracts for services no later than five years after the agreement came into force, and a new round of services negotiations was officially launched in Geneva in February 2000. Six GATS negotiations were held in 2000, during which WTO members addressed issues ranging from improved service classifications and greater transparency, mandatory revisions to the Air Services Annex, and exemptions for the most treating nations. Transparency GATS says governments must publish all relevant laws and regulations and set up investigative bodies within their bureaucracies. Foreign companies and governments can then use these investigative agencies to obtain information on the rules applicable to each service sector. They must also inform the WTO of changes to the rules for services under specific obligations. They also unequivocally endorsed some of the fundamental principles of the GATS, namely the right of members to regulate and introduce new rules on the provision of services in order to pursue national policy objectives; their right to indicate what services they wish to provide to foreign suppliers and under what conditions; and the general principle of flexibility for developing and least developed countries. The guidelines are therefore sensitive to public policy concerns in important sectors such as health, public education and the cultural industry, while stressing the importance of liberalisation in general and ensuring effective access for foreign service providers to domestic markets. The General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) is the first and only set of multilateral rules governing international trade in services. It was negotiated during the Uruguay Round and developed in response to the enormous growth of the services economy over the past 30 years and the increased potential for thinking services created by the communication revolution. Air Services Currently, most airfare and services are excluded from GATS coverage. However, the GATS requires a review of this situation by members. The review, which began in early 2000, aims to determine whether additional air services should be covered by the GATS.
The revision could lead to clean negotiations, which could lead to a change in the GATS itself by integrating new services into the coverage area and incorporating specific obligations for these new services into national flight plans.