Safeguard Measures in World Trade
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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).
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Chapter 3: Article XIX and Agreement on Safeguards

Yong-Shik Lee


Difficult negotiations had continued for decades and failures had been repeated before the world finally saw the Agreement on Safeguards at the end of the Uruguay Round negotiations. In the meantime, the disciplines on safeguards crumbled due to the noted deficiency of Article XIX. Rule-evading gray-area measures had proliferated, undermining the objective of free trade in the process. Therefore, no matter how difficult it had proved time and again, it was essential to agree upon new rules on safeguards, and it was finally achieved in the Uruguay Round negotiations. The delicate balance and compromises of the conflicting interests between developed and developing countries are found in the text of the new Agreement. For instance, the SA declares the principle of the non-discriminatory application of a safeguard measure and prohibits all gray-area measures. At the same time, it also accommodates the need to focus on imports from certain Members where such imports have increased disproportionately in relation to the total imports, by allowing the importing countries to deviate from the MFN allocation of quota. The Agreement on Safeguards, comprising 14 Articles in total, provides detailed substantive and procedural requirements for the application of a safeguard measure. The Agreement, hailed as "a heroic statement of principle," has objectives of re-establishing multilateral control over safeguards and eliminating measures that escape such control. It also emphasizes the importance of structural adjustment and the need for a comprehensive agreement.

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