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Developing Countries and Preferential Services Trade


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Part of Cambridge International Trade and Economic Law

  • Date Published: July 2016
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781107147560

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About the Authors
  • WTO law sets the global minimum standards for trade regulation, while allowing some regulatory flexibility for developing countries. The exact scope of regulatory flexibility is often unclear and, at times, flexibility may be counterproductive to sustainable economic growth in developing countries. Undisputedly, developing countries would have some flexibility with respect to tailoring preferential services trade agreements to their individual economic needs and circumstances, but empirical data from over 280 preferential services trade agreements worldwide shows that this flexibility is rarely used. This volume clarifies the regulatory scope of flexibility for preferential services trade agreements between developing countries by linking the legal interpretation of WTO law with evidence from research in economics and political sciences. The book suggests that the current regulatory framework leaves room for meaningful flexibility for developing countries, and encourages policymakers and scholars to take these flexibilities into consideration in their design and study of trade policies.

    • Combines empirical data with legal research
    • Elaborates on the law with reference to economic and political science literature
    • Develops new suggestions for the better use of WTO law for the benefit of developing countries
    Read more


    • Winner (for dissertation), 2015–16 Walter Hug Award for Dissertations, Professor Walter Hug Foundation

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    Product details

    • Date Published: July 2016
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781107147560
    • length: 360 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 21 mm
    • weight: 0.65kg
    • contains: 15 b/w illus. 2 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Special and differential treatment in the WTO
    2. The rationale for South-South services trade
    3. The quest of this study
    Part I. Preferential Services Trade:
    4. History and geography of preferential services trade
    5. Stock-taking of preferential services trade agreements
    6. The current level of liberalisation
    7. The special case of South-South preferential services trade
    Part II. Legal Regime for Preferential Services Trade:
    8. Historical background of preferentialism in services trade and its regulation
    9. GATS Art. V
    10. Regulatory flexibilities in the GATS: special and differential treatment
    11. Compliance with GATS worldwide
    12. Loopholes in the GATS: problems in practice
    13. Innovation in South-South agreements?
    14. In summary
    Part III. Legal Regime for South-South Preferential Services Trade:
    15. The legal scope of flexibilities for South-South preferential services trade
    16. Legal arguments for a large scope of flexibilities in the GATS
    17. New approach to a better use of the scope of flexibilities
    18. Systemic considerations
    19. In summary
    Part IV. Conclusions:
    20. Lessons for the WTO
    21. Lessons for the architecture of international economic law
    22. Critical issues for future research.

  • Author

    Charlotte Sieber-Gasser, University of Lucerne
    Charlotte Sieber-Gasser studied law in both Bern and Fribourg, Switzerland, and development studies in Manchester. She currently works as a Senior Visiting Research Fellow at the Graduate Institute for International and Development Studies in Geneva, and as a Lecturer in Law at the University of Bern, Switzerland.


    • Winner (for dissertation), 2015–16 Walter Hug Award for Dissertations, Professor Walter Hug Foundation

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