Friday, September 4, 2009

Can Doha Free Flight?

With word coming out that the Doha Round of World Trade Organization talks has recommenced, see Neelabh Chaturvedi & Prasanta Sahu, India Says Deadlock in WTO Talks Broken, Wall St. J., Sept. 4, 2009 (available here), readers of the blog may be interested in revisiting Brian Hindley's Trade Liberalization in Aviation Services: Can Doha Free Flight? (AEI Press, 2004).  More information on the book, along with a downloadable PDF copy, is available through the American Enterprise Institute's website here.  From the summary:

In this study, Brian Hindley discusses the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the possibility of new international aviation rules. Traffic rights—which carriers can fly where—are the necessary core of any agreement, but they are expressly exempted from the disciplines of the GATS. This creates a unique opportunity for the industry to craft agreements outside the WTO, and then potentially negotiate special provisions for itself within the WTO.

But problems remain. The dispute-settlement process continues to frustrate many carriers, especially U.S. airlines, and it does not seem likely that WTO disciplines will quickly be applied to aviation. In the search for a new organizational basis for international aviation, however, the WTO cannot be ignored.

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