OECD Trade Policy Papers

This series is designed to make available to a wider readership selected trade policy studies prepared for use within the OECD.

NB. No. 1 to No. 139 were released under the previous series title OECD Trade Policy Working Papers.


Liberalising Network Infrastructure Services and the GATS

This study reviews key issues in liberalising network infrastructure services ? including telecommunications, postal/courier, energy, water and sewage ? in the national and multilateral contexts. The economic and social significance of these services means that they are high on the list of development priorities in many countries. Enhanced trade and investment in network infrastructure services can help achieve these development goals. Liberalisation, however, is no easy task and requires sound regulation and effective institutions to address market failures and ensure public policy objectives. If appropriately designed, bound liberalisation under the GATS can contribute to the advancement of national objectives by improving investor?s confidence when countries decide to allow private sector participation in these services. The WTO services agreement can affect the regulatory conduct of governments in some areas of network infrastructure services, particularly when specific commitments are made. This is intensified by the fact that the GATS is a relatively young agreement and some of its provisions remain to be tested in practice. It is thus crucial to carefully examine its provisions and tailor-specific commitments to national policy objectives.


Keywords: regulation, infrastructure, public services, network, liberalisation, GATS
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