Tanzania advised to push for discipline in domestic regulation.

July. 1, 2015. The Guardian.

Tanzania and other developing countries have been advised to push for discipline in domestic regulation so as to accommodate a wide variety of national circumstances and strike a balance in economic performance.

Discipline based on the prevailing frameworks in the developed countries should be avoided as it would most likely cause implementation challenges.

In his report on the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) discipline on domestic regulations and negations, Cuts International Geneva official Julian Mukiibi said:

“Discipline should be premised on the principle of special and differential treatment similar to what was included in the Trade Facilitation Agreement”.

He pointed out that GATS in its preamble recognizes the right of members to regulate, and introduce new regulations, on the supply of services within their territories to meet national objectives, and further that given asymmetries existing with respect to the degree of development of services regulations, the particular need of developing countries to exercise this right.

“GATS given that services are intangible, governments through regulation aim at ensuring that service consumers are not exploited through, say information asymmetries, in this way regulation may require consumers to be provided with information in advance, or qualification requirements of professionals, or licensing requirements as proof of competence of service suppliers and quality of the services provided,” he said.

He noted: “Despite on recognition of members’ right to regulate domestically, the GATS in Article VI.4 provides that measures relating to qualification requirements and procedures, technical standards and licensing requirements should not constitute unnecessary barriers to trade in services, and through the Council for Trade in Services mandates development of any necessary disciplines.”

He underscored that negotiations on disciplines for domestic regulation are revolving around a number of issues that could be categorised such as transparency obligations, the necessity test including approach to determining trade effect of domestic regulatory measures to ensure that they do not constitute unnecessary barriers to trade in services.

“Another issue is, Transparency provides that measures relating to qualification requirements and procedures, technical standards and licensing should, inter alia, be based on objective and transparent criteria, such as competence and the ability to supply the service,” he said.

He insists: “The disciplines in this regard will aim at ensuring that all required information is available to service providers so that trade is not unnecessarily restricted. This envisages that regulations will be made public once they are made. The criteria would include publication and availability of information on regulations and procedures.”

However, developing countries and the least developed ones should also push for the linking of resulting obligations from the disciplines on domestic regulations, to the development of regulatory and institutional capacity at the local and regional levels of government.

This should be premised on the principle of special and differential treatment similar to what was included in the Trade Facilitation Agreement.

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