The General Agreement on Trade in Services was created to extend the multilateral trading system to the services sector, just as the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) provides for such a system for trade in goods. The agreement entered into force in January 1995. A country wishing to accede to the WTO submits a request to the General Council and must describe all aspects of its trade and economic policies that are outside the WTO Agreements.  The request is submitted to the WTO in a memorandum to be considered by a working group open to all interested WTO Members.  The WTO agreements concern goods, services and intellectual property. They describe the principles of liberalisation and the exceptions allowed. These include commitments by individual countries to reduce tariffs and other barriers to trade, as well as to open and maintain open services markets. They establish dispute settlement procedures. They prescribe special treatment for developing countries. They require governments to make their trade policies transparent by informing the WTO of applicable laws and measures taken and by reporting regularly to the Secretariat on countries` trade policies. These timetables include commitments made by each WTO Member Party to allow certain foreign goods or service suppliers access to their markets. Timetables are an integral part of the agreements. In the printed version, these tables include about 30,000 pages for all WTO Members.
The Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures – also known as the SPS Agreement – was negotiated during the GATT Uruguay Round and entered into force with the establishment of the WTO in early 1995. Under the SPS Agreement, the WTO imposes restrictions on Members` policies on food safety (bacterial contaminants, pesticides, inspection and labelling) and animal and plant health (imported pests and diseases). The agreements for the two largest areas of goods and services have a common structure in three parts, although the details are sometimes very different. .