In addition, the Air Services Annex exempts air duty and service measures directly related to the exercise of these rights. The GATS expressly recognizes the right of members to regulate service delivery by pursuing their own policy objectives. However, the agreement contains provisions to ensure that service rules are managed appropriately, objectively and impartially. The GATS covers all services with a few exceptions. The list of service sectors and sub-sectors covered is on the list of services. The commitments contained in the GATS can be divided into two broad groups: general commitments that apply to all members and service sectors and commitments that apply only to sectors in a member`s commitment plan. These obligations are defined in individual timetables, the scope of which can vary considerably from one Member State to another. The relevant terms and concepts are similar, but not necessarily identical to those of the GATT; Domestic processing is, for example, a general obligation in trade in goods and non-negotiable as in the GATS. Like the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), which deals with trade in goods, the GATS has two main objectives: first, to ensure that all signatories are treated fairly in terms of access to foreign markets; and second, the promotion of a gradual liberalisation of trade in services (over time, removal of trade barriers, in order to allow greater participation in the markets of the other). Graduation has no impact on existing service obligations. “LDC graduates are not required to make new GATS commitments after graduation. They will continue to maintain the lower level of their commitments made during the Uruguay Round, although the number of GATS commitments varies considerably between the LDC finalised countries and they also differ in their profile of trade in services.
(WTO/FEI, 2020) Exceptions may be granted in the form of Exceptions under Article II. Members could apply for such exemptions before the agreement came into force. New derogations may only be granted to new members at the time of accession or, in the case of current members, by a derogation under Article IX:3 of the WTO agreement. All exceptions are subject to review; they should not, in principle, last more than 10 years. In addition, the GATS allows groups of members to enter into economic integration agreements or to mutually recognize regulatory standards, certificates and others when certain conditions are met. The GATS, like all other Uruguay Round agreements, is an annex to the World Trade Organization (WTO) agreement. It therefore does not have its own signing and ratification process, but will come into force at the same time as the WTO agreement and all other annexes. There is no opt-out of the GATS: those who want to take advantage of the other elements of the Uruguay cycle must also respect the GATS.
The provision of many services often requires the simultaneous physical presence of the producer and the consumer. There are therefore many cases where, in order to be commercially reasonable, trade obligations must extend to cross-border consumer movements, the establishment of a commercial presence in a market or the temporary free movement of the service provider. The overall GATS framework consists of a preamble and 28 articles, followed by eight annexes, eight ministerial statements and decisions, and an “agreement” on financial services.