There also appears to be significant debate among the parties regarding whether to adopt a "positive list" or "negative list" model for the negotiations. Under a positive list model (which was used in the GATS Agreement itself), parties identify the sectors for which they are willing to make liberalization commitments. A negative list model (which was used in the GATS financial services and telecommunications agreements) requires parties to schedule areas for which they are unwilling to commit to liberalization.
The inconsistency in press reports regarding whether a consensus has emerged on the appropriate approach is likely a result of the preliminary nature of current Quad discussions. None of the Quad countries has formally developed their positions at this time.
We expect the positions of the Quad members to change over time, as the list of sectors to be included in the negotiations is refined and the parties are better able to assess which approach will be more effective in achieving meaningful results with lesser developed nations. Additional preparatory talks are scheduled for late September.