GATT Accession

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GATT Accession

Summary of GATT

Detais can be found in General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade).

Accession Process

The process was described by Christopher Mark in 1993:

“Joining the GENERAL AGREEMENT ON TARIFFS AND TRADE is rarely a simple or straightforward matter –especially if the acceding country’s trade and economic systems are incompatible with GENERAL AGREEMENT ON TARIFFS AND TRADE norms l based on the operation of price-based market forces. Countries acceding to GENERAL AGREEMENT ON TARIFFS AND TRADE do so under provisions of Article 33. The … process involve(d) a series of steps, usually spanning several years:

  1. Formal request for membership submitted to the GENERAL AGREEMENT ON TARIFFS AND TRADE Secretariat, which then informally sounds out a number of members on the likelihood of the applicant country’s acceptability.
  2. Consideration by GENERAL AGREEMENT ON TARIFFS AND TRADE Council.
  3. If the application is accepted by the GENERAL AGREEMENT ON TARIFFS AND TRADE Council, the Director-General appoints a chairman of a Working Party –composed of representatives of the applicant country and interested GENERAL AGREEMENT ON TARIFFS AND TRADE members –to examine the GA TT compatibility of the applicant’s economic and trade regime.
  4. The applicant country submits a memorandum to the GENERAL AGREEMENT ON TARIFFS AND TRADE Secretariat describing in detail its economic and trade system.
  5. GENERAL AGREEMENT ON TARIFFS AND TRADE members respond to the applicant country’s memorandum, usually with requests for clarification, additional facts, or information on its future intentions.
  6. After the initial question/response exchange, GENERAL AGREEMENT ON TARIFFS AND TRADE members seeking further clarification or more detailed explanations submit follow-on requests to the applicant country.
  7. Once Working Party meetings begin, GENERAL AGREEMENT ON TARIFFS AND TRADE members seek to determine the compatibility of the applicant country’s trading system with individual GENERAL AGREEMENT ON TARIFFS AND TRADE rules and requirements. The applicant is then expected to bring any inconsistent practices into compliance with GENERAL AGREEMENT ON TARIFFS AND TRADE , or else to justify them under one or more of the temporary exceptions allowed by GENERAL AGREEMENT ON TARIFFS AND TRADE.
  8. At the conclusion of its examination, the Working Party may conclude & either (a) that the applicant country should accede to membership under terms of a “standard” protocol or (b), if compatibility of its economic and trade system has not been demonstrated, that the accession protocol must provide certain guarantees to GENERAL AGREEMENT ON TARIFFS AND TRADE members until the acceding country’s trade system has been modified to comply with GENERAL AGREEMENT ON TARIFFS AND TRADE rules.
  9. Bilateral negotiations are conducted with individual GENERAL AGREEMENT ON TARIFFS AND TRADE members on a schedule of concessions by the applicant country –usually tariff reductions and bindings –as its “entry fee” for GENERAL AGREEMENT ON TARIFFS AND TRADE membership. Negotiations normally take place simultaneously with the Working Party examination.
  10. Once agreement is reached with all parties, the results of bilateral negotiations are compiled into consolidated schedule of concessions which, along with the draft protocol of accession, is appended to the Working Party report and presented to the GENERAL AGREEMENT ON TARIFFS AND TRADE Council for approval
  11. Following Council approval, GENERAL AGREEMENT ON TARIFFS AND TRADE members are asked to vote on acceptability of the acceding country. If two-thirds of the members vote in favor, the …acceding country becomes a GENERAL AGREEMENT ON TARIFFS AND TRADE member 30 days after formally notifying the Director General of its acceptance of the protocol of accession.”

Gatt in International Trade

Meaning of Gatt, according to the Dictionary of International Trade (Global Negotiator): The General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade is a multilateral trade agreement aimed at expanding international trade and the organization that oversees the agreement. The purpose of GATT organization, based in Geneva, is to provide a forum for discussion of world trade issues that allows for the disciplined resolution of trade disputes, based on the founding principles of the GATT which include nondiscrimination, transparency, an the most-favoured-nation (MFV) treatment. International negotiations known as Rounds are conducted to lower tariffs and other barriers to trade, and a consultative mechanism that may be invoked by governments seeking to protect their trade interests. The fundamental principles of the GATT are:

Trade without discrimination. The first principal embodied in the famous most-favoured-nation clause is that trade must be conducted on the basis of non discrimination. No country is to give special trading advantages to another or to discriminate against it; all are on an equal basis and all share the benefits of any moves towards lower trader barriers.

Protection through tariffs. Ensures that if protection to a domestic industry is given, it should be extended through the customs tariff and not through other commercial measures.

Promotion fair competition. Concerns over dumping and subsidies are addressed by the Anti-Dumping Code which provides rules under which governments may respond to dumping in their domestic market by overseas competitors, and rules for the application of countervailing duties which can be imposed to negate the effects of export subsidies.

Quantitative restrictions on imports. A basic clause of GATT is a general prohibition of quantitative restrictions (import quotas). The main exception to the general rules against these restrictions allows their use in balance of payments difficulties.

Possible emergency actions. Waiver procedures allow a country to seek release from particular GATT obligations, when its economic or trade circumstances so warrant. The safeguards rule permit members under carefully defined circumstances to impose import restrictions or suspended tariff concessions on products that are being imported in such increased quantities and under such conditions that they cause serious injury to competing domestic producers.

Regional trading arrangements. Regional trading groupings, as an exception to the general most-favoured-nations treatment are permitted in the form of a custom union or free trade area.

Settling trade disputes. Consultation, conciliation, and dispute settlement are fundamental aspects of GATT’s work. Countries can petition GATT for a fair settlement of cases in which they feel the rights under the General Agreement are being withheld or compromise by other members.

See most-favoured-nation; safeguards. Website.

Concept of Gatt

An introductory definition of Gatt is provided here: General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, drawn up in 1947 to codify the rules of conduct in trade for its members, in the GATT, states agreed to negotiate “reciprocal and mutually advantageous arrangements directed to the substantial reduction of tariffs and other barriers to trade” and to increase free and fair trade

Resources

See Also

  • Foregin Policy
  • Foreign Affairs

Resources

See Also

  • International Organization
  • Foreign Relations
  • Organization
  • United Nations
  • United Nations System
  • UN Agency

Resources

See Also

  • Pre-accession
  • Multilateral Trade Negotiations
  • Accession
  • Applicant Countries
  • WTO
  • General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade resources
  • Enlargement
  • Outline of International economic laws
  • Customs Cooperation Council
  • Subsidies Code
  • Community Acquis

Further Reading

  • Group of Negotiations on Services, The Uruguay Round of Multilateral Trade Negotiations, “Scheduling of Initial Commitments in Trade in Services: Explanatory Note”, MTN.GNS/W/164. Geneva: GATT Secretariat, September 3, 1993.
  • Howse, Robert, “Comments on Feketekuty, Nicolaidis/Trachtman, and Zampetti Papers”.
  • Mattoo, Aaditya, “National Treatment in the GATS: Corner Stone or Pandora’s Box?” Journal of World Trade Law, Volume #?, Year?
  • Thompson, Rachel, “Formula Approaches to Improving GATS Commitments: Some Options for Negotiations”
  • World Trade Organization, The Results of the Uruguay Round of Trade Negotiations: The Legal Texts, Geneva: WTO, 1995.

Hierarchical Display of GATT

Trade > International trade > Trade relations > Trade agreement
International Organisations > World organisations > World organisation > World Trade Organisation
Trade > Trade policy > Trade policy > Generalised preferences
Trade > Trade policy > Common commercial policy
International Relations > International affairs > International agreement > Protective clause

GATT

Concept of GATT

See the dictionary definition of GATT.

Characteristics of GATT

Resources

Translation of GATT

Thesaurus of GATT

Trade > International trade > Trade relations > Trade agreement > GATT
International Organisations > World organisations > World organisation > World Trade Organisation > GATT
Trade > Trade policy > Trade policy > Generalised preferences > GATT
Trade > Trade policy > Common commercial policy > GATT
International Relations > International affairs > International agreement > Protective clause > GATT

See also

  • General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade

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