Development of GATT

Origin Originally the IMF and the World Bank were to be accompanied by an International Trade Organisation.  The Bretton Woods Agreement made in 1944 proposed the formation of an International Trade Organization to oversee international liberalised free trade. The ITO  was to administer and harmonise world trade and develop comprehensive codes for the conduct of […]

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GATT Principles & Exceptions

Some General Principles The GATT provides for a number of basic principles. Non-discrimination; The principle of national treatment requires that goods, once lawfully imported, will be treated in the same manner as domestic goods. They must not be treated any less favourably such as in relation to tax, consumer laws, regulations and requirements in relation to […]

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WTO Institutions & Dispute Resolution

The WTO The Uruguay Round led to the creation of the World Trade Organization in 1994/5, which is now the overarching governing body. The World Trade Organization comprises a ministerial conference that meets every two years. There is a General Council which has delegates from all member countries and various committees. The WTO Agreement provides […]

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Most Favoured Nation Principle

Basic GATT Principles State members of GATT must comply with two basic principles in the conduct of their trade policy namely, the most-favored-nation principle and the national treatment principle. The most-favored-nation principle relates to customs duties and other charges on imports. Any advantage, favour, privilege or immunity given by a state in relation to any […]

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Non Discrimination Principle

National Treatment Principle The national treatment principle requires that once goods have been imported, and the relevant duty has been paid under the importing state’s tariff schedules, no additional burdens may be imposed by way of further tax or equivalent measure. The goods must be treated in the same way as like national products. The […]

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Preferential Trade Agreements

Preferential Trade Agreements. Preferential Trade Agreements are treaties between states giving preferential access to each other’s domestic market. They may be multilateral or bilateral. They are commonly regional in scope, such as the EU and NAFTA agreements. Preferential agreements are permissible under GATT rules provided that trade restrictions are eliminated on most trade between the […]

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WTO and Anti-Dumping

WTO Anti-Dumping Rules Article VI of the GATT (as restated) enables member states to put in place anti-dumping measures to deal with cases, where third country goods are imported or sent to the state at less than their value in such a way that threatens or causes material injury to existing industries in the member […]

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WTO and Subsidies

Subsidies Article XVI of GATT provides that if a state party to the agreement grants any subsidy, which operates directly or indirectly to increase exports of any product from or to reduce imports of products into a territory, it must notify the state parties to the Agreement of the nature and effect of the subsidisation […]

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WTO Safeguards, Adjustment and Exceptions

WTO & Safeguards Unilateral action may be permitted as a safeguard in unforeseen circumstances where there are imports in such quantities or conditions such as to cause serious injury to domestic producers of similar goods. Obligations may be modified or suspended. Conditions apply. Article XIX of GATT provides:”If, as a result of unforeseen developments and […]

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Trade and Agriculture

GATT and Agriculture The GATT prohibition on quantitative restrictions contains exceptions for agricultural products.  Restrictions may be placed on imports of agricultural or fisheries products for the purpose of policies of restricting quantities of like domestic products on the market or to remove temporary surpluses of such domestic products. The restriction is not to be […]

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WTO and Trade in Services

General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS The Uruguay Round commencing in 1986, sought to extend the scope of the GATT to include an international multilateral Agreement on Trade in Services. This ultimately resulted in the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS), which commenced in 1995. GATS applies to measures by state members affecting […]

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GATS & Financial Services

GATS Services Commitments Most WTO Member States submitted Schedules of Commitments in relation to services pursuant to GATS.The schedules are required to be classified in accordance with 12 principal sectors. States are not obliged to make a commitment in respect of each sector. The principal sectors are business services advertising, market research, consulting, computing, communication; […]

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Regulation / Barriers and World Trade

Regulation and Barriers to Trade As the European Union experience shows, internal regulations may constitute a very significant barrier to trade. The country of import may point to their standards as being in their legitimate interests in maintaining health and safety standards. It may be difficult to draw the line between legitimate regulation and disguised […]

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Standardised Customs and Licensing Rules

Classification A worldwide uniform system of classification has been adopted in order to ease the process of classification and provide uniformity.The common classification simplifies and provides a common and uniform classification of goods in world trade. The goods must be classified in accordance with the relevant tariff in order to apply the relevant treatment. Several […]

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