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Did the Agreement on Safeguards Nullify their Use?


  • Hartigan James C.

    () (Department of Economics, University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK 73019–2103, USA)


The Agreement on Safeguards (ASG) clarified the obligation to apply measures in accordance with the most favored nation (MFN) principle. Because foreign supply shocks can be non-uniform, MFN can induce nullification and impairment (N&I) complaints at the World Trade Organization from (third party) foreign suppliers not benefitting from the shock. These suppliers’ exports are reduced by both the beneficial shock to other exporters and the safeguard (SG) action by the home country. Although the ASG made use of SG more attractive by delaying requests for retaliation for three years in the absence of compensation for N&I, this may have been negated by the MFN requirement. Thus, it becomes a plausible explanation for the proliferation of antidumping actions. For recent U.S. anti-dumping cases against multiple exporting countries, dumping margins differing by over an order of magnitude were common. This suggests that alternative use of SG with an MFN requirement would elicit third party N&I.

Suggested Citation

  • Hartigan James C., 2015. "Did the Agreement on Safeguards Nullify their Use?," Global Economy Journal, De Gruyter, vol. 15(1), pages 155-172, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:bpj:glecon:v:15:y:2015:i:1:p:155-172:n:1

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. John H. Jackson, 1997. "The World Trading System, 2nd Edition: Law and Policy of International Economic Relations," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262600277, January.
    2. Martin, Alberto & Vergote, Wouter, 2008. "On the role of retaliation in trade agreements," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(1), pages 61-77, September.
    3. Sykes, Alan O., 2006. "The WTO Agreement on Safeguards: A Commentary," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199277407.
    4. Beshkar, Mostafa, 2010. "Optimal remedies in international trade agreements," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 54(3), pages 455-466, April.
    5. Beshkar, Mostafa, 2010. "Trade skirmishes safeguards: A theory of the WTO dispute settlement process," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 82(1), pages 35-48, September.
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