Safeguard measures

A WTO member may take a “safeguard” action (i.e., restrict imports of a product temporarily) under the WTO Agreement on Safeguards to protect a specific domestic industry from an increase in imports of any product which is causing, or which is threatening to cause, serious injury to the industry.

Safeguard measures were always available under the GATT (Article XIX). However, they were infrequently used, and some governments preferred to protect their industries through “grey area” measures (“voluntary” export restraint arrangements on products such as cars, steel and semiconductors).

The WTO Safeguards Agreement broke new ground in prohibiting “grey area” measures and setting time limits (“sunset clause”) on all safeguard actions.

  • Information on special agricultural safeguards is available here
  • Information on safeguards in regional trade agreements is available here
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Basic introduction to the Safeguards Agreement

Links to the safeguards section under "Anti-dumping, subsidies, safeguards" in “Understanding the WTO”

More technical explanations


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Safeguards Agreement

Overview of the Safeguards Agreement

The Safeguards Agreement: a detailed explanation

Browse or download the text of the “Safeguards Agreement

Find decisions of WTO bodies concerning the Safeguards Agreement in the Analytical Index — Guide to WTO Law and Practice


Notification obligations

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Committee on Safeguards

The Committee on Safeguard oversees the implementation of the Agreement on Safeguards and provides a forum for members to raise and address related questions and concerns. The current chair is .

Full details

> Consult the Guide to downloading files.

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Statistics on safeguard measures 

The data presented in the tables below are based on the notifications made by WTO Members to the Committee on Safeguards during the relevant periods, and are accurate only to the extent Members have made the relevant notification. The information in the tables will be updated periodically. Data in the tables have been updated as of 30 June 2023.