13 Δεκ Wto Rules for Trade
The WTO Agreement provides for the establishment of a Committee on Rules of Origin in which member States consult each other on matters relating to the implementation of the Agreement. This Committee and a Technical Committee on Rules of Origin of the World Customs Organization (WCO) have been tasked with developing a permanent and harmonized set of product-specific rules of origin that will apply to all trade in goods, except preferential trade, among WTO members. (Preferential trade is trade within free trade areas or other regional trade agreements, such as the North American Free Trade Agreement, or preferential trade programs, such as the United States` Generalized System of Preferences.) Both committees are still working on this project. Once completed, exporters will be able to determine exactly what origin criteria will be applied to their product lines when exporting to a WTO member. At the heart of the organization are the WTO agreements negotiated and signed by the majority of the world`s trading nations. These documents constitute the legal basis for international trade. These are essentially treaties that oblige governments to keep their trade policies within agreed limits. Trade under the WTO Agreements is said to be “rules-based”, i.e. it is a rules-based system. Once fully implemented, this agreement, the first multilateral agreement reached at the WTO, will reduce trade costs by more than 14% and increase global exports by up to $1 trillion per year. The WTO is sometimes referred to as a free trade institution, but that is not entirely accurate. The system allows for tariffs and, in certain circumstances, other forms of protection. More specifically, it is a system of rules dedicated to open, fair and undistorted competition.
The main tasks of the Secretariat are to provide technical support to the various Councils/Committees and Ministerial Conferences, to provide technical assistance to developing countries, to analyse world trade and to explain WTO activities to the public and the media. The World Trade Organization (WTO) Agreement on Rules of Origin requires WTO members to apply their rules of origin in an impartial, transparent and uniform manner. The agreement also stipulates that rules of origin must not restrict, distort or disrupt international trade. For trade-related environmental or health measures to be WTO-consistent, they must not discriminate against like products. Therefore, the principle of non-discrimination raises two central questions: are the products in question like products? If so, is the foreign product treated less favourably than the domestic product or as another foreign product? To give an example in the field of public health protection, in the EC case on asbestos, which concerned measures (prohibition of the import, sale and use of asbestos) to reduce the risks to human health posed by exposure to asbestos and products containing asbestos, the applicant had to demonstrate that the French national substitutes (PVA, Cellulose and glass fibres) and that the French regulation treats imported products less favourably than similar domestic products. In fact, in this case, the Panel found that domestic and imported products were similar. However, the Appellate Body reversed this finding, stating that the Panel should have taken into account several criteria in determining the similarity, including the competitive relationship between the products, but also the health risk posed by the two products due to their different physical properties. If two products are found to be alike, the question remains whether imported products are treated less favourably than domestic products. For example, in the case of US gasoline, the Panel found that a US measure regulating the composition and impact on emissions of gasoline to reduce air pollution in the United States violated Article III of the GATT: imported gasoline was effectively prevented from benefiting from conditions of sale as favourable as domestic gasoline; Therefore, the Panel noted that imported gasoline was treated less favourably than domestic gasoline. The WTO system contributes to development.
On the other hand, developing countries need flexibility in the time they need to implement framework agreements. And the agreements themselves adopt the previous GATT provisions, which grant developing countries special aid and trade concessions. The WTO Agreement on Intellectual Property contains rules for the trade of ideas and creativity. The rules specify how copyrights, patents, trademarks, geographical indications used to identify products, industrial designs and undisclosed information such as trade secrets and intellectual property should be protected when dealing with trade. These agreements constitute the legal basis for world trade. These are essentially treaties that guarantee important trade rights to WTO members. They also oblige governments to maintain their trade policies transparent and predictable, for the benefit of all. A rules-based trading system ensures that individuals, businesses and governments know trade rules around the world. This gives them the confidence to do business under stable and predictable conditions. When a WTO Member concludes a regional integration agreement under which it grants its trade with the other Parties to this Arrangement more favourable terms than trade with other WTO Members, it is derogating from the guiding principle of non-discrimination set out in Article I of the GATT, Article II of the GATS and elsewhere. Global trade rules ensure security and stability. Consumers and producers know that they can benefit from a secure supply and a wider choice of finished products, components, raw materials and services.
Producers and exporters know that foreign markets remain open to them. The Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF) is the only multilateral partnership designed exclusively to help least-developed countries (LDCs) use trade as an engine for growth, sustainable development and poverty reduction. The EIF Partnership, composed of 51 countries, 24 donors and eight partner agencies, including the WTO, works closely with governments, development organizations, civil society and academia. EIF has invested in more than 170 projects, with $220 million allocated to support the world`s poorest countries. The system also attempts to improve predictability and stability in other ways. One possibility is to discourage the use of quotas and other measures to fix imported quantities. Managing quotas can lead to more bureaucracy and accusations of unfair gambling. Another is to make countries` trade rules as clear and public (transparent) as possible. Many WTO agreements require governments to make their policies and practices public in the country or by notification to the WTO.
Regular monitoring of national trade policies through the Trade Policy Review Mechanism is another means of promoting transparency at the national and multilateral levels. These agreements are often referred to as WTO trade rules, and the WTO is often described as a rules-based system. But it`s important to remember that rules are actually agreements that governments have negotiated. Any company involved in international trade can benefit from clear and predictable rules of origin. The WTO Agreements cover goods, services and intellectual property. They specify the principles of liberalisation and the exceptions allowed. These include commitments by individual countries to reduce tariffs and other barriers to trade and to open and keep services markets open. They establish dispute resolution procedures. They impose special treatment on developing countries. They oblige governments to make their trade policies transparent by informing the WTO of applicable laws and measures adopted and by reporting on countries` trade policies in regular Secretariat reports.
The World Trade Organization The WTO is the international organization whose main objective is to open trade for the benefit of all. To search for documents on regional trade agreements in the WTO online database, follow this link, to access the WTO documents database, enter the codes provided in the document icon window of the search engine. The table of contents of the results of the Uruguay Round of multilateral trade negotiations: the legal texts is a discouraging list of some 60 agreements, annexes, decisions and agreements. In fact, the agreements are divided into a simple structure with six main parts: a framework agreement (Agreement establishing the WTO); agreements for each of the three main trade areas covered by the WTO (goods, services and intellectual property); Disputes; and the review of governments` trade policies. Other non-generalized preferential arrangements, such as non-reciprocal preferential agreements between developing and developed countries, require members to seek exemption from WTO rules.