GATS: Increasing LDC participation through negotiated specific commitments (Art. IV:1)

The GATS provides that special priority shall be given to the LDC Members in the implementation of Article IV: 1 & 2. (Article IV: 3).

Article IV:1 states that the increasing participation of developing countries in world trade in services shall be facilitated through negotiated specific commitments relating to: (a) the strengthening of their domestic services capacity and its efficiency and competitiveness, inter alia through access to technology on a commercial basis; (b) the improvement of their access to distribution channels and information networks; and (c) the liberalization of market access in sectors and modes of supply of export interest to them.

In 2001, the Council for Trade in Services adopted  S/L/93 “Guidelines and Procedures for the Negotiations on Trade in Services“, which laid out general provisions for negotiations on trade in services. Subsequently, “Modalities for Special Treatment for Least Developed Country Members in the Negotiations on Trade in Services’ (TN/S/13) was adopted in September 2003. Among other considerations, it indicates that Members shall exercise restraint in seeking commitments from LDCs; that LDCs shall be granted greater flexibilities for opening up fewer service sub-sectors, including that LDCs may not be expected to offer full national treatment. It further states that WTO Members shall provide LDCs with effective market access in sectors and modes of supply of export interest of LDCs. Additionally, Members shall take measures to increase LDC participation in trade in services through training, capacity building and intergovernmental cooperation programmes, among others. It also specifies the principles for the provision of technical assistance and capacity building for LDCs with respect to trade in services, including for the conduction of national assessment of trade in services.

Available Smooth Transition Procedures:

Utilization by LDCs:

The WTO Secretariat has not been notified of any specific commitments that have been made pursuant to Article IV:1.


  1. Implementation of special and differential treatment provisions in WTO Agreements and Decisions, and the Corrigendum.
  2. Special and Differential Treatment Provisions in WTO Agreements and Decisions – Note by the Secretariat
  3. The General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS): objectives, coverage, and disciplines