The commentary in Part IX of the MAI shows that there is consensus, that there are reservations about the MAI, but there is some discussion among counties as to whether unrelated reserves should be allowed, as “such a provision could undermine the MAI disciplines to which it has applied.” (9) In the case of related or unrelated reservations, the nature of government activity that may be reserved under NAFTA is extremely broad. NAFTA defines “measures” and includes “laws, regulations, procedures, requirements or practices.” In comparison, there is no similar definition of “measures” in May. Specific and Sectoral Reserves The booking process under a multilateral contract will indicate just how specific a reserve should be. In NAFTA, for example, the related reservations in Schedule I had to be very specific in listing the existing non-compliant state measure. The non-annex RESERVEs in Appendix II were broader, as only economic sectors (for example). B telecommunications) were to be mentioned. By using sectoral reserves, negotiators are easily able to obtain a much broader area of political authority from the government than if they are required to list any specific state measures in this area. In NAFTA, Canada has expressed unrelated sectoral reservations: NAFTA adopted this earlier bilateral waiver by listing it in NAFTA Schedule 2106 and providing that the duties and obligations under the previous agreement are the same as those of NAFTA and NAFTA. As a result, new NAFTA obligations, such as the protection of intellectual property rights or the settlement of investor-state disputes, cannot be invoked for the cultural industry.
Reserves are unilateral statements by governments that say they are not bound by an international contractual obligation. Reservations about multilateral agreements such as the MAI can only be expressed in the manner defined in the treaty. It is important to note that not all government activities can be reserved in accordance with international treaties. The General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) consists of the framework agreement (the articles of the agreement), its annexes, lists of specific membership commitments and lists of Article II (MFN) waivers submitted by WTO members. Calendars and lists of exceptions are an integral part of the agreement. Report of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, A/CONF.151/26 (Vol. I), Chapter 1 – “Preamble” (adopted August 12, 1992) at point 1.6. See also, M.F. Strong, “Beyond Rio: Prospects and Portents” 4 Colo. J. Int`l Envtl.
L. – Pol`y 21 (1993), in which the author merely characterizes the Rio Declaration as a declaration of principles that forms the basis of voluntary cooperation and paves the way for the negotiation of binding agreements. Strong was Secretary General of the EUNU at the Earth Summit in June 1992. Reservations about international treaties have a long-standing diplomatic tradition. To simplify, the booking of a country allows to be bound by an international treaty while trying to be excused by a particular requirement. Therefore, reserves allow a country to rewrite certain contractual obligations, as they will affect that country. In essence, reserves are special exceptions to international agreements. A reservation differs from an exception by the fact that all treaty signatories have an exception and are included in the text of the treaty. (1) In comparison, the reservations apply only to the country that manufactures them and are generally found only with the “ratification instruments” of a given treaty or in an annex to the treaty.