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 10: Discussions on safeguard measures in the service trade: GATS Article X

Yong-Shik Lee


Since the Uruguay Round negotiations brought the service trade into the multilateral trading system in the framework of the General Agreement on Trade in Services, Members have discussed the introduction of a safeguard measure in the context of trade in services (an emergency safeguard measure: an ESM) as a built-in agendum in the new agreement on service trade. Article X of the GATS requires the holding of multilateral negotiations on the question of ESMs. It provides, "the results of such negotiations … enter into effect on a date not later than three years from the date of entry into force of the WTO Agreement." The discussion of the emergency safeguard mechanism in the service trade (the ESM) has continued under this mandate. The three-year time limit stipulated in Article X.1 has already expired. As of March 2013, Members have not yet reached agreement on the ESM. The fundamental issues about the ESM are still open to discussion. There is debate as to the desirability of the ESM, and Members have not yet been able to agree on a draft agreement for negotiations. Eighteen years after the settlement of the GATS, the rules for trade in services are still at a formative stage, and the discussion of the ESM is analogous to the introduction of the escape clause to the GATT over a half-century ago when the international rules for goods trade were being formed.

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