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Developing Countries in the WTO Legal System$
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Joel P. Trachtman and Chantal Thomas

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195383614

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195383614.001.0001

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Development by Moving People

Development by Moving People

Unearthing the Development Potential of a Gats Visa

Developing Countries in the WTO Legal System

Sungjoon Cho

Oxford University Press

This chapter explores practical strategies for promoting the international migration of workers under the WTO parameter, i.e., free movement of natural persons (Mode 4) of the GATS. It first identifies both benefits and costs of temporary migration while it highlights that those costs may be manageable. It then analyzes to what extent GATS Mode 4 could manifest development potential embedded in GATS. It observes that the “GATS visa” proposal could deliver this development potential in GATS and suggests that WTO Members should tackle three main challenges (temporariness, legal binding, and levels of commitments) to succeed in the GATS visa program. It argues that WTO Members should first gain confidence in the GATS visa system through voluntary experimentation on a limited scale before they negotiate on the expansion of the covered list or on any legally binding mechanism.

Keywords:   worker migration, WTO system, GATS Mode 4, GATS visa system, temporary migration, migrant workers

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