Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, which has been superseded as an
international organization by the WTO. An updated General Agreement is
now one of the WTO’s agreements.
1947 — The old (pre-1994) version of the GATT.
1994 — The new version of the General Agreement, incorporated into
the WTO, which governs trade in goods.
Members — WTO
governments (first letter capitalized, in WTO style).
MFN — Most-favoured-nation
treatment (GATT Article I, GATS Article II and TRIPS Article 4), the
principle of not discriminating between one’s trading partners.
treatment — The principle of giving others the same treatment as
one’s own nationals. GATT Article III requires that imports be
treated no less favourably than the same or similar
domestically-produced goods once they have passed customs. GATS
Article XVII and TRIPS Article 3 also deal with national treatment for
services and intellectual property protection.
TPRM — The Trade Policy Review Body is General Council operating
under special procedures for meetings to review trade policies and
practices of individual WTO members under the Trade Policy Review
transparency — Degree
to which trade policies and practices, and the process by which they
are established, are open and predictable.
Round — Multilateral trade negotiations launched at Punta del Este,
Uruguay in September 1986 and concluded in Geneva in December 1993.
Signed by Ministers in Marrakesh, Morocco, in April 1994.
bound — see “tariff binding”
commerce — The production, advertising, sale and distribution of
products via telecommunications networks.
free-rider — A
casual term used to infer that a country which does not make any trade
concessions, profits, nonetheless, from tariff cuts and concessions
made by other countries in negotiations under the most-favoured-nation
System — An international nomenclature developed by the World
Customs Organization, which is arranged in six digit codes allowing
all participating countries to classify traded goods on a common
basis. Beyond the six digit level, countries are free to introduce
national distinctions for tariffs and many other purposes.
ITA — Information
Technology Agreement, or formally the Ministerial-Declaration on Trade
in Information Technology Products, under which participants
will remove tariffs on IT products by the year 2000.
II — Negotiations aimed at expanding ITA’s product coverage.
tariff — Tariff so low that it costs the government more to collect it
than the revenue it generates.
of concessions — List of bound tariff rates.
binding — Commitment not to increase a rate of duty beyond an
agreed level. Once a rate of duty is bound, it may not be raised
without compensating the affected parties.
escalation — Higher import duties on semi-processed products than
on raw materials, and higher still on finished products. This practice
protects domestic processing industries and discourages the
development of processing activity in the countries where raw
peaks — Relatively high tariffs, usually on “sensitive”
products, amidst generally low tariff levels. For industrialized
countries, tariffs of 15% and above are generally recognized as “tariff peaks”.
tariffs — Customs
duties on merchandise imports. Levied either on an ad valorem basis
(percentage of value) or on a specific basis (e.g. $7 per 100 kgs.).
Tariffs give price advantage to similar locally-produced goods and
raise revenues for the government.
WCO — World
Customs Organization, a multilateral body located in Brussels through
which participating countries seek to simplify and rationalize customs
duties — Article VI of the GATT 1994 permits the imposition of
anti-dumping duties against dumped goods, equal to the difference
between their export price and their normal value, if dumping causes
injury to producers of competing products in the importing country.
circumvention — Measures
taken by exporters to evade anti-dumping or countervailing duties.
measures — Action taken by the importing country, usually in the
form of increased duties to offset subsidies given to producers or
exporters in the exporting country.
dumping — Occurs
when goods are exported at a price less than their normal value,
generally meaning they are exported for less than they are sold in the
domestic market or third-country markets, or at less than production
NTMs — Non-tariff
measures such as quotas, import licensing systems, sanitary
regulations, prohibitions, etc.
undertaking — Undertaking by an exporter to raise the export price
of the product to avoid the possibility of an anti-dumping duty.
PSI — Preshipment
inspection — the practice of employing specialized private companies
to check shipment details of goods ordered overseas — i.e. price,
quantity, quality, etc.
QRs — Quantitative
restrictions — specific limits on the quantity or value of goods
that can be imported (or exported) during a specific time period.
of origin — Laws, regulations and administrative procedures which
determine a product’s country of origin. A decision by a customs
authority on origin can determine whether a shipment falls within a
quota limitation, qualifies for a tariff preference or is affected by
an anti-dumping duty. These rules can vary from country to country.
measures — Action taken to protect a specific industry from an
unexpected build-up of imports — governed by Article XIX of the GATT
subsidy — There
are two general types of subsidies: export and domestic. An export
subsidy is a benefit conferred on a firm by the government that is
contingent on exports. A domestic subsidy is a benefit not directly
linked to exports.
tariffication — Procedures
relating to the agricultural market-access provision in which all
non-tariff measures are converted into tariffs.
facilitation — Removing obstacles to the movement of goods across
borders (e.g. simplification of customs procedures).
VER, OMA — Voluntary restraint arrangement, voluntary export
restraint, orderly marketing arrangement. Bilateral arrangements
whereby an exporting country (government or industry) agrees to reduce
or restrict exports without the importing country having to make use
of quotas, tariffs or other import controls.
ATC — The
WTO Agreement on Textiles and Clothing which integrates trade in this
sector back to GATT rules within a ten-year period.
forward — When an exporting country uses part of the following
year’s quota during the current year.
over — When an exporting country utilizes the previous year’s
circumvention — Avoiding
quotas and other restrictions by altering the country of origin of a
CTG — Council
for Trade in Goods — oversees WTO agreements on goods, including the
programme — The phasing out of MFA restrictions in four stages
starting on 1 January 1995 and ending on 1 January 2005.
ITCB — International
Textiles and Clothing Bureau — Geneva-based group of some
20 developing country exporters of textiles and clothing.
MFA — Multifibre
Arrangement (1974-94) under which countries whose markets are
disrupted by increased imports of textiles and clothing from another
country were able to negotiate quota restrictions.
swing — When
an exporting country transfers part of a quota from one product to
another restrained product.
TMB — The
Textiles Monitoring Body, consisting of a chairman plus ten members
acting in a personal capacity, oversees the implementation of ATC
safeguard mechanism — Allows members to impose restrictions
against individual exporting countries if the importing country can
show that both overall imports of a product and imports from the
individual countries are entering the country in such increased
quantities as to cause — or threaten — serious damage to the
relevant domestic industry.
2000 — EC’s financial reform plans for 2000–06 aimed at
strengthening the union with a view to receiving new members. Includes
reform of the CAP (see below).
protection — Any measure which acts to restrain imports at point
BSE — Bovine
spongiform encephalopathy, or “mad cow disease”.
box — Category
of domestic support. — Green box: supports considered not to
distort trade and therefore permitted with no limits. — Blue box:
permitted supports linked to production, but subject to production
limits and therefore minimally trade-distorting. — Amber box:
supports considered to distort trade and therefore subject to
Group — Group of agricultural exporting nations lobbying for
agricultural trade liberalization. It was formed in 1986 in Cairns,
Australia just before the beginning of the Uruguay Round. Current
membership: Argentina, Australia, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile,
Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Indonesia, Malaysia, New Zealand,
Paraguay, Philippines, South Africa, Thailand and Uruguay.
CAP — Common
Agricultural Policy — The EU’s comprehensive system of production
targets and marketing mechanisms designed to manage agricultural trade
within the EU and with the rest of the world.
Alimentarius — FAO/WHO commission that deals with international
standards on food safety.
distortion — When
prices and production are higher or lower than levels that would
usually exist in a competitive market.
payment — Paid by governments to producers of certain commodities
and based on the difference between a target price and the domestic
market price or loan rate, whichever is the less.
EEP — Export
enhancement programme — programme of US export subsidies given
generally to compete with subsidized agricultural exports from the EU
on certain export markets.
security — Concept which discourages opening the domestic market
to foreign agricultural products on the principle that a country must
be as self-sufficient as possible for its basic dietary needs.
support — Encompasses any measure which acts to maintain producer
prices at levels above those prevailing in international trade; direct
payments to producers, including deficiency payments, and input and
marketing cost reduction measures available only for agricultural
Office of Epizootics — Deals with international standards
concerning animal health.
Idea that agriculture has many functions in addition to producing food
and fibre, e.g. environmental protection, landscape preservation,
rural employment, etc. See non-trade concerns.
concerns — Similar to multifunctionality. The preamble of the
Agriculture Agreement specifies food security and environmental
protection as examples. Also cited by members are rural development
and employment, and poverty alleviation.
clause — Provision in Article 13 of the Agriculture Agreement
says agricultural subsidies committed under the agreement cannot be
challenged under other WTO agreements, in particular the Subsidies
Agreement and GATT. Expires at the end of 2003.
process/programme — The Uruguay Round Agriculture Agreement starts
a reform process. It sets out a first step, in the process, i.e. a
programme for reducing subsidies and protection and other reforms.
Current negotiations launched under Article 20 are for continuing
the reform process.
regulations — Sanitary and Phytosanitary regulations —
government standards to protect human, animal and plant life and
health, to help ensure that food is safe for consumption.
levy — Customs duty rate which varies in response to domestic
Convention — Treaty, administered by WIPO, for the protection of
the rights of authors in their literary and artistic works.
CBD — Convention
on Biological Diversity.
licensing — For patents: when the authorities license companies or
individuals other than the patent owner to use the rights of the
patent — to make, use, sell or import a product under patent (i.e. a
patented product or a product made by a patented process) — without
the permission of the patent owner. Allowed under the TRIPS Agreement
provided certain procedures and conditions are fulfilled. See also
counterfeit — Unauthorized
representation of a registered trademark carried on goods identical or
similar to goods for which the trademark is registered, with a view to
deceiving the purchaser into believing that he/she is buying the
exhaustion — The
principle that once a product has been sold on a market, the
intellectual property owner no longer has any rights over it. (A
debate among WTO member governments is whether this applies to
products put on the market under compulsory licences.) Countries’
laws vary as to whether the right continues to be exhausted if the
product is imported from one market into another, which affects the
owner’s rights over trade in the protected product. See also
indications — Place names (or words associated with a place) used
to identify products (for example, “Champagne”, “Tequila” or “Roquefort”) which have a particular
quality, reputation or other characteristic because they come from
use — For patents: when the government itself uses or authorizes
other persons to use the rights over a patented product or process,
for government purposes, without the permission of the patent owner.
See also compulsory licensing.
property rights — Ownership of ideas, including literary and
artistic works (protected by copyright), inventions (protected by
patents), signs for distinguishing goods of an enterprise (protected
by trademarks) and other elements of industrial property.
IPRs — Intellectual
Agreement — Treaty, administered by WIPO, for the protection of
geographical indications and their international registration.
Agreement — Treaty, administered by WIPO, for the repression of
false or deceptive indications of source on goods.
mailbox — Refers
to the requirement of the TRIPS Agreement applying to WTO members
which do not yet provide product patent protection for pharmaceuticals
and for agricultural chemicals. Since 1 January 1995, when the
WTO agreements entered into force, these countries have to establish a
means by which applications of patents for these products can be
filed. (An additional requirement says they must also put in place a
system for granting “exclusive marketing rights” for the
products whose patent applications have been filed.)
imports — When a product made legally (i.e. not pirated) abroad is
imported without the permission of the intellectual property
right-holder (e.g. the trademark or patent owner). Some countries
allow this, others do not.
Convention — Treaty, administered by WIPO, for the protection of
industrial intellectual property, i.e. patents, utility models,
industrial designs, etc.
piracy — Unauthorized
copying of materials protected by intellectual property rights (such
as copyright, trademarks, patents, geographical indications, etc) for
commercial purposes and unauthorized commercial dealing in copied
Convention — Treaty, administered by WIPO, UNESCO and ILO, for the
protection of the works of performers, broadcasting organizations and
producers of phonograms.
TRIPS — Trade-Related
Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights.
UPOV — International
Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (Union
internationale pour la protection des obtentions végétales)
Treaty — Treaty for the protection of intellectual property in
respect of lay-out designs of integrated circuits.
WIPO — World
Intellectual Property Organization.
measure — Requirement that a certain quantity of production must
FDI — Foreign
measure — Requirement that the investor purchase a certain amount
of local materials for incorporation in the investor’s product.
product-mandating — Requirement
that the investor export to certain countries or region.
measure — Requirement that the investor use earnings from exports
to pay for imports.
TRIMS — Trade-related
Body — An independent seven-person body that, upon request by one
or more parties to the dispute, reviews findings in panel reports.
automaticity — The
“automatic” chronological progression for settling trade
disputes in regard to panel establishment, terms of reference,
composition and adoption procedures.
DSB — Dispute
Settlement Body — when the WTO General Council meets to settle trade
DSU — The
Uruguay Round Understanding on Rules and Procedures Governing the
Settlement of Disputes.
and impairment — Damage to a country’s benefits and expectations
from its WTO membership through another country’s change in its
trade regime or failure to carry out its WTO obligations.
panel — Consisting
of three experts, this independent body is established by the DSB to
examine and issue recommendations on a particular dispute in the light
of WTO provisions.
rate — In telecoms, the charge made by one country’s telephone
network operator for calls originating in another country.
presence — Having an office, branch, or subsidiary in a foreign
GATS — The
WTO’s General Agreement on Trade in Services.
obligations — Obligations which should be applied to all services
sector at the entry into force of the agreement.
commitments — Trade liberalizing commitments in services which
members are prepared to make early on.
of delivery — How international trade in services is supplied and
consumed. Mode 1: cross border supply; mode 2: consumption abroad;
mode 3: foreign commercial presence; and mode 4: movement of natural
multi-modal — Transportation
using more than one mode. In the GATS negotiations, essentially
door-to-door services that include international shipping.
schedules — The equivalent of tariff schedules in GATT, laying
down the commitments accepted — voluntarily or through negotiation
— by WTO members.
persons — People, as distinct from juridical persons such as
companies and organizations.
offer — A
country’s proposal for further liberalization.
protocols — Additional
agreements attached to the GATS. The Second Protocol deals with the
1995 commitments on financial services. The Third Protocol deals with
movement of natural persons.
prudential — In financial services, terms used to describe an
objective of market regulation by authorities to protect investors and
depositors, to avoid instability or crises.
schedule — “Schedule
of Specific Commitments” — A WTO member’s list of commitments
regarding market access and bindings regarding national treatment.
commitments — See “schedule”.
ACP — African,
Caribbean and Pacific countries. Group of 71 countries with
preferential trading relation with the EU under the former Lomé
Treaty now called the Cotonou Agreement.
Community — Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela.
APEC — Asia
Pacific Economic Cooperation forum.
ASEAN — Association
of Southeast Asian Nations. The seven ASEAN members of the WTO —
Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore and
Thailand — often speak in the WTO as one group on general issues.
The other ASEAN members are Laos and Vietnam.
Caricom — The
Caribbean Community and Common Market comprises 15 countries.
CTD — The
WTO Committee on Trade and Development
union — Members apply a common external tariff (e.g. the EC).
EC — European
Communities (official name of the European Union in the WTO).
EFTA — European
Free Trade Association.
trade area — Trade within the group is duty free but members set
own tariffs on imports from non-members (e.g. NAFTA).
G15 — Group
of 15 developing countries acting as the main political organ for the
G77 — Group
of developing countries set up in 1964 at the end of the first UNCTAD
(originally 77, but now more than 130 countries).
G7 — Group
of seven leading industrial countries: Canada, France, Germany, Italy,
Japan, United Kingdom, United States.
GRULAC — Informal
group of Latin-American members of the WTO.
GSP — Generalized
System of Preferences — programmes by developed countries granting
preferential tariffs to imports from developing countries.
HLM — WTO
High-Level Meeting for LDCs, held in October 1997 in Geneva.
ITC — The
International Trade Centre, originally established by the old GATT and
is now operated jointly by the WTO and the UN, the latter acting
through UNCTAD. Focal point for technical cooperation on trade
promotion of developing countries.
LDCs — Least-developed
MERCOSUR — Argentina,
Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay.
NAFTA — North
American Free Trade Agreement of Canada, Mexico and the US.
Quad — Canada,
EC, Japan and the United States.
SACU — Southern
African Customs Union comprising Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, South
Africa and Swaziland.
S&D — “Special
and differential treatment” provisions for developing countries.
Contained in several WTO agreements.
UNCITRAL — United
Nations Centre for International Trade Law, drafts model laws such as
the one on government procurement.
UNCTAD — The
UN Conference on Trade and Development.
Agenda 21 — The
Agenda for the 21st Century — a declaration from the 1992 Earth
Summit (UN Conference on the Environment and Development) held in Rio
Article XX — GATT
Article listing allowed “exceptions” to the trade rules.
Convention — An MEA dealing with hazardous waste.
BTA — Border
CITES — Convention
on International Trade in Endangered Species. An MEA.
CTE — The
WTO Committee on Trade and Environment.
EST — Environmentally-sound
EST&P — EST
ante, ex post — Before and after a measure is applied.
LCA — Life
cycle analysis — a method of assessing whether a good or service is
MEA — Multilateral
Protocol — An MEA dealing with the depletion of the earth’s
PPM — Process
and production method.
TBT — The
WTO Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade.
waiver — Permission
granted by WTO members allowing a WTO member not to comply with normal
commitments. Waivers have time limits and extensions have to be