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The safeguards mess: a critique of WTO jurisprudence

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  • SYKES, ALAN O.
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    Abstract

    The creation of the WTO revived the use of safeguard measures to protect troubled industries against surges in import competition. Many of these measures have now been challenged in the WTO dispute resolution process, and in each case the process has found the challenged measure to be a violation of WTO law. This paper examines the WTO rules on safeguards from an economic perspective. Among other things, it argues that the textual preconditions for the use of safeguards in the treaty text are incoherent, and that the Appellate Body has compounded the problem through a series of dubious and unhelpful rulings. The result is a situation in which nations cannot use safeguards without facing a near certainty that they will be found invalid. Those who believe that safeguard measures are wasteful protectionism may welcome these developments, but it is by no means clear that the trading system will benefit in the long run.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Cambridge University Press in its journal World Trade Review.

    Volume (Year): 2 (2003)
    Issue (Month): 03 (November)
    Pages: 261-295

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    Handle: RePEc:cup:wotrrv:v:2:y:2003:i:03:p:261-295_00

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    Cited by:
    1. Horn, Henrik & Mavroidis, Petros C, 2006. "A Survey of the Literature on the WTO Dispute Settlement System," CEPR Discussion Papers 6020, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    2. Chad P. Bown, 2005. "Trade Remedies and World Trade Organization Dispute Settlement: Why Are So Few Challenged?," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 34(2), pages 515-555, 06.
    3. Bown, Chad P. & Hoekman, Bernard, 2007. "Developing Countries and Enforcement of Trade Agreements: Why Dispute Settlement Is Not Enough," CEPR Discussion Papers 6459, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    4. Tadashi Ito, 2007. "NAFTA and productivity convergence between Mexico and the US," IHEID Working Papers 26-2007, Economics Section, The Graduate Institute of International Studies, revised 27 Nov 2007.
    5. Simon Schropp, 2007. "Revisiting the "Compliance-vs.-Rebalancing" Debate in WTO Scholarship a Unified Research Agenda," IHEID Working Papers 29-2007, Economics Section, The Graduate Institute of International Studies, revised Dec 2007.

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