Safeguard Measures in World Trade

Safeguard Measures in World Trade

The Legal Analysis, Third Edition

Yong-Shik Lee

Safeguard Measures in World Trade tackles the controversial issue of restrictions on imports. Professor Yong-Shik Lee skillfully argues that Safeguards interfere substantially with the normal stream of trade, and their improper application undermines the objectives of the World Trade Organization (WTO).

Chapter 5: Article 4 - injury and causation

Yong-Shik Lee

Subjects: law - academic, international economic law, trade law


The injury determination constitutes a core stage in the investigation for a safeguard measure, as safeguard measures remedy or prevent serious injury to the domestic industry (Article 2.1). Article 4.1 provides a series of definitions for the terms relevant to the injury determination. For instance, "serious injury" is defined as "a significant overall impairment in the position of a domestic industry" (Article 4.1(a)) and "threat of serious injury" as "serious injury that is clearly imminent, in accordance with the provisions of paragraph 2" (Article 4.1(b)). These brief definitions do not remove the inherent subjectivity in the injury determination. It is left to the national authorities to assess whether the investigated injury constitutes "an overall impairment in the position of the domestic industry" and, in the case of a threat, whether the injury is "imminent." Injury determination is an art, rather than a precise science, and a certain degree of subjectivity is inevitable. Nevertheless, in conjunction with the specific injury factors specified in Article 4.2(a) and the reasoned explanations and analysis required for the injury determination under Articles 3 and 4.2(c), these provisions of the SA reduce the arbitrariness of the injury assessment.

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