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Vague definitions of restriction cause multi-directionality—GATT cases prove

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Vague definitions of restriction cause multi-directionality—GATT cases prove

Todd Tucker (Research director with Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch. His work focuses on the legal, economic and political implications of the WTO, NAFTA, CAFTA and other trade agreements, and also on U.S. foreign policy issues. Former policy analyst at the Center for Economic and Policy Research) March 2010 “That’s All They’ve Got?”: What Latest WTO Secretariat Paper on Financial Crisis Does and Does Not Say About GATS Disciplines on Financial Regulation” http://www.citizen.org/documents/That%27sAllTheyGot.pdf
Here, the Secretariat confirms a very serious concern: that the GATS creates obligations to simply eliminate whole categories of non-discriminatory regulations. The Secretariat states that, “The GATS does not define terms such as ‘payments and transfers for current transactions,’ ‘current transactions,’ ‘capital transactions,’ ‘movement of capital,’ or indeed ‘restrictions,’” even though definitions exist through the International Monetary Fund and other bodies. The lack of definition of the term “restriction” is especially troublesome, since it could encompass reregulatory measures that are being widely discussed at the moment, such as financial transaction taxes (FTT).9 An FTT, by contrast, would explicitly not be considered a prohibited “restriction” under the IMF Articles of Agreement, since the IMF defines “restriction” as “a direct governmental limitation on the availability or use of exchange as such.”10

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