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Abstract from

Pressing Issues of Global Free Trade in Services

M Rafiqul Islam, LLB, MA (Economics) and BA (Hons) (University of Rajshahi, Bangladesh), LLM, PhD (Law) (Monash), is Associate Professor of Law, Macquarie University, Sydney, Convener of Inter­national Law Studies Program and teaches Public International Law, International Trade and Finance, International Human Rights Law and Law of International Orga­nisations. He has actively been engaged in legal research and publications encompassing all areas of international law and extensively published books and scholarly articles on contem­porary and controversial international legal issues, including those pertaining to international trade law.

In recognition of the economic significance of trade in services to growth, the Uruguay Round concluded a legally enforceable agree­ment to promote free trade in services. This article examines the legislative history of that agreement, the enthusiasm of its pro­ponents, the concern of its opponents, and its inclusion in the WTO package. It critically analyses the major provisions of the agreement. It appraises the fairness and equity of the agreement by evaluating its impact on major stakeholders, particularly on developing and the least-developed countries. It is this dimension of the agreement that exposes the unfairness of fair trade in services and its north-south tension. Finally, it explores some options for improvement.

(2003) 21 Law in Context 251

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