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Water as a service - GATS considerations

GATS. The United States Trade Representative (USTR) has specifically stated that the United States will NOT commit water supply or distribution of water for human use.  At present,  the GATS category “drinking water services” is not offered by the United States under the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS). 

The GATS uses a “positive list” approach for sector-specific commitments, which means tha countries make offers on specific sectors that they agree to come within the scope of GATS rules. A request from one trading partner, like the EU, does not automatically translate into a sectoral offer from the United States.

 The United States has limited its sectoral commitments on water to sewage treatment “contracted by private industry,” and also to water-related sectors such as other environmental services plus engineering and construction services (which include waterworks).

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