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Gaceta Sanitaria

Print version ISSN 0213-9111


UMANA PENA, Román Andrés; ALVAREZ-DARDET DIAZ, Carlos  and  VIVES CASES, Carmen. Opacity of general agreements on goods and services in Spain. Gac Sanit [online]. 2006, vol.20, n.3, pp.228-232. ISSN 0213-9111.

Objective: To explore the intensity of the debate in the Spanish Parliament on the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) developed by Spain and the World Trade Organization, and to compare it with the debate on the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT). Methods: A systematic search and content analysis were performed of all parliamentary initiatives on GATS and GATT undertaken from 1979 to 2004 in the Spanish Parliament and Senate. The frequency and percentages of initiatives on both issues were calculated, and the final result and kinds of initiative were analyzed. Results: A total of 185 initiatives were presented in the Spanish Parliament on these agreements, of which 120 were on GATT, 8 were on GATS and 57 were on both agreements. Most of these initiatives were not discussed in parliament (GATT, 71%; GATS, 55.4%) or were the subject of political debate with low participation among parliamentary groups. Conclusions: Despite the implications of the GATS for Spanish health policy, the agreement was developed with little prior political debate, which was even less intense than that on GATT. The parliamentary function of controlling the government should be reaffirmed in Spain.

Keywords : GATS; Trade of services; Trade agreements; Globalization.

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