The General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) is the first multilateral agreement on trade in services. It was negotiated in the last round of multilateral trade negotiations, the Uruguay Round, and entered into force in 1995. The GATS provides a framework of rules for trade in services, establishes a mechanism for countries to commit to liberalizing trade in services, and provides a mechanism for the settlement of disputes between countries. This definition defines virtually all public services as “provided on a commercial basis” and already extends to areas such as the police, military, prisons, judiciary, public administration and government. From a relatively short time perspective, this could open up to the privatization or commercialization of large parts and possibly all public services that are now considered public services that are currently available to the entire population of a country as social rights, restructured, marketed, allocated to for-profit providers and ultimately fully privatized and made available to them, who can pay for it. This process is currently well advanced in most countries, usually (and intentionally) without properly informing or consulting the public to find out whether this is what they want or not. While gatt was a set of rules agreed upon by nations, the WTO is an intergovernmental organization with its own headquarters and staff, and its scope includes both trade in goods and trade in services, as well as intellectual property rights. Although designed to serve multilateral agreements, plurilateral agreements have led to selective trade and fragmentation among members over several gatt rounds of negotiations (not limited to the Tokyo Round). WTO agreements are generally a multilateral GATT resolution mechanism.

[24] Exceptions are possible in the form of so-called exceptions within the meaning of Article II. Members were allowed to request such exemptions before the entry into force of the agreement. New waivers may be granted to new Members only at the time of accession or, in the case of existing Members, by way of derogation under Article IX(3) of the WTO Agreement. .