The Compatibility of Ethiopian Shipping Sector Regime with GATS Obligations

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Addis Ababa,University


The role of shipping transport in the development of international trade and the economy is critical, as evidenced by the binging of international trade. This is because, globally, states are not self-sufficient in meeting all of their society's interests, forcing the state to interact in various trade activities. Maritime transport is the world's biggest bulk transport with low cost when compared to other transport modalities with high financial value. The world is moving toward globalization to eliminate trade barriers for free flow of goods and service among countries. The major driving forces for globalization are plans for the government's living standard of their people, modernizing and privatizing public enterprise and the contemporary stiff competition and market search persisting in the world. But this effort is facing different challenges from various political, economic, social and technological crises. There is a continuous negotiation under GATT to remove different trade barriers among the states. Among such negotiations, the Uruguay round is the largest Multilateral Trade Negotiation which resulted in the establishment of the WTO on January 1, 1995, and the incorporation of trade in service (GATS) under the Multilateral Trade agreement. The Maritime transport Negotiations Originally scheduled to end in June 1996, but participants failed to agree on a package of commitments. As a result, it did not yet come in effect. Currently, Ethiopia is in the process of accession to the WTO and as part of its accession process, its legal regime on maritime transport shall be the subject of inquiry in line with GATS obligation. International maritime transport is one of the sophisticated legal regimes which has been unsuccessful till now. The thesis will first look at how the general and specific legal obligations of GATS are enforced on the international shipping service, as well as the efforts made so far to implement Multilateral Law on Maritime Service. Secondly, it examines the compatibility of Ethiopian shipping service laws with that of GATS. Thirdly, it briefly discusses the gaps in Ethiopia's shipping service sector laws and ways of negotiation to keep up the sectors of strategic importance for the country. viii Finally, it will identify the potential areas of interest that negotiating parties might tend to limit in line with Ethiopian policy and suggest terms of negotiation in the shipping service sector. The study concluded that from a legal point of view, Ethiopian shipping sector law is compatible with GATS obligation subjected to specific obligation the country is undertaking and enactment of the clear licensing directive. It advises negotiators to maintain the sector's existing preferential treatment.



The Compatibility of Ethiopian