- Elgar International Economic Law series
15. The regulation of safeguards in the WTO A A TYPOLOGY OF SAFEGUARD MEASURES A list of all possible forms of safeguard measures is not explicitly reflected in the WTO SG Agreement or Article XIX GATT 1994.1 The latter simply provides that under certain circumstances a Member may be free ‘to suspend the obligation in whole or in part or to withdraw or modify the concession’. Thus, tariff increases above the bound rate may clearly be used as a safeguard measure. Actually, Article 7 SG provides that provisional safeguard measures should take the form of such tariff increases. But definitive safeguard measures could take the form of quantitative restrictions or any type of quota system as well, as becomes evident from Article 5 SG. Art. 5.1 SG states, inter alia: ‘. . . if a quantitative restriction is used’ (emphasis added) and Article 5.2 deals with ‘cases in which a quota is allocated among supplying countries’. Article 5.1 in fine states that Members should choose measures most suitable for the achievement of the objectives, that is, to prevent or remedy serious injury and to facilitate adjustment. Actually, based on the notifications by WTO Members to the Safeguards Committee, it appears that ad valorem tariff increases are the most widely used safeguards instrument. Almost as popular are tariff rate quotas (TRQ) whereby Members reserve a favourable tax rate for a small initial quantity imported. Specific tariff increases are third on the ranking. Quantitative restrictions with some quota system are a distant fourth only.2 In...
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