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The Impact Of GATS Commitments On The Liberalization And Regularization Of Cross Border Trade

The Impact Of GATS Commitments On The Liberalization And Regularization Of Cross Border Trade In Health Care Services: A Comparative Analysis Of India And The United States Of America

Naveen Chandra Joshi, University of Mumbai


This paper examines the impact of the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) on healthcare services, focusing on its influence in both India and the United States. GATS, a World Trade Organization treaty established in 1995, aims to progressively eliminate trade barriers in services and has significantly internationalized the healthcare sector. The study explores GATS's effects across the four modes of service supply - cross-border supply, consumption abroad, commercial presence, and presence of natural persons - highlighting the increased access to healthcare services, the rise of medical tourism, the establishment of foreign healthcare facilities, and the movement of health professionals across borders.

The paper delves into the concept of liberalization and regularization of cross- border healthcare trade, discussing the benefits and challenges this presents, such as improved access to services, introduction of new technologies, and concerns over the regulation of healthcare services and equity.

In the Indian context, the paper assesses the country's GATS commitments, emphasizing the surge in medical tourism and the export of healthcare services, alongside challenges like resource distribution inequity and brain drain. In contrast, the U.S. experience under GATS is characterized by its role as a significant exporter of health services and a major importer of health personnel, navigating the complexities of liberalization while maintaining domestic healthcare standards.

The paper offers a comparative analysis of the GATS commitments in India and the USA, identifying similarities and differences in their approaches to healthcare trade liberalization and regulation. It discusses the challenges and opportunities each country faces, influenced by their unique healthcare systems, economic development stages, and domestic priorities.

The study concludes that while GATS has facilitated the growth of medical tourism, telemedicine, and professional mobility, it necessitates careful management to balance trade liberalization benefits with public health interests. The paper suggests that countries must align their GATS commitments with national interests and capabilities, ensuring regulatory measures to maintain service quality and protect patient rights. This analysis provides insights for policymakers and stakeholders in international health services trade, highlighting the importance of context-specific strategies, policy coordination, and continuous assessment in managing the impact of GATS commitments on healthcare trade.


Indian Journal of Law and Legal Research

Abbreviation: IJLLR

ISSN: 2582-8878


Accessibility: Open Access

License: Creative Commons 4.0

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​All research articles published in The Indian Journal of Law and Legal Research are fully open access. i.e. immediately freely available to read, download and share. Articles are published under the terms of a Creative Commons license which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The opinions expressed in this publication are those of the authors. They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of the IJLLR or its members. The designations employed in this publication and the presentation of material therein do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the IJLLR.

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