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CHAPTER 11 Regulating Import Competition and Unfair Trade. GATT Escape Clause (1947). Article XlX- allows escape from previous promises. Many countries have provisions in national law that parallel GATT’s Escape clause. WTO Agreement on Safeguards (1994).

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CHAPTER 11 Regulating Import Competition and Unfair Trade

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Chapter 11 regulating import competition and unfair trade


Regulating Import Competition and Unfair Trade

Gatt escape clause 1947

GATT Escape Clause (1947)

  • Article XlX- allows escape from previous promises.

  • Many countries have provisions in national law that parallel GATT’s Escape clause.

Wto agreement on safeguards 1994

WTO Agreement on Safeguards (1994)

  • “Products imported in such increased quantities and under such conditions as to cause or threaten to cause serious injury to the domestic industry that produces like or directly competitive products.”

  • Countries should notify WTO Safeguards committee.

  • Is the injury “serious”? Is the injury “imminent”?

Wto agreement on safeguards

WTO Agreement on Safeguards

  • 1st Step: Public administrative investigation.

  • Global Safeguards.

  • Limits on Use of Safeguards.

    • May not exceed 4 years.

    • Voluntary restraint agreements no longer permitted.

  • Trade Compensation.

  • The WTO Committee on Safeguards: countries must notify the WTO Committee on Safeguards when taking action.

Safeguards against injury under u s law

Safeguards Against Injury Under U.S. Law

  • U.S. Escape Clause: Section 201 of The Trade Act of 1974.

    • Does not follow the GATT guidelines.

    • U.S. law refers to safeguards as “positive adjustments.”

    • WHAT? “article being imported in such increased quantities as to be a SUBSTANTIAL cause of SERIOUS INJURY or threat thereof to domestic industry producing an article LIKE or DIRECTLY COMPETITIVE with the imported article”

Safeguards against injury under u s law1

Safeguards Against InjuryUnder U.S. Law

  • U.S. Standard for Import Relief.

  • ITC Safeguard Investigations: public notice in the Federal Register.

  • Must have “substantial cause of serious injury” and apply the Argentina standard.

Cases on safeguard measures

Cases on Safeguard Measures

  • Argentina Safeguard Measures on Imports of Footwear (WTO 1999): Argentina had not shown that increased imports were the cause of serious harm to domestic footwear.

  • Heavyweight Motorcycles & Engines & Power-Train Subassemblies (ITC, 1983): incremental duties must be imposed.

Remedies under u s law

Remedies Under U.S. Law

  • President’s options:

    • Temporary: 4-8 yrs.

    • 50% tariff increase.

    • Tariff rate quotas.

    • Absolute quotas.

    • Auctioned import license quotas.

    • Trade adjustment assistance.

    • Negotiated agreements.

      • orderly market agreements (gov. to gov.)

      • VRA: gov. to supplier.

China safeguards

China Safeguards

  • Imports from China are subject to special rules not applicable to other WTO countries.

  • U.S. and China agreed that safeguards would apply until 2013.

  • Relief if ITC finds “market disruption.”

Trade adjustment assistance

Trade Adjustment Assistance

  • File with the Department of Labor.

  • Direct cash payments to workers.

  • Job retraining for workers and relocation.

  • Help for companies as well.

U s steel industry case study

U.S. Steel Industry: Case Study

  • In June 2001, President Bush asks ITC to investigate.

  • Clinton had refused to take such action.

  • In October 2001, ITC found serious injury.

  • In 2002 President Bush imposed tariffs up to 30% on steel imports.

  • WTO 2003 found U.S. in violation and Bush lifted them December 2003.

Unfair import laws dumping and antidumping duties

Unfair Import Laws: Dumping and Antidumping Duties

  • Dumping- antidumping duties.

  • Subsidies- countervailing duties. 



  • What is it? selling products in foreign country for less than the price charged in producer’s home market.

  • Price discrimination.

  • What is wrong with this?

  • Purpose to drive out competition.

  • Criticism?

Wto antidumping agreement

WTO Antidumping Agreement

  • 1994 GATT/WTO Antidumping Agreement.

  • What is the “dumping margin”?

    • Dumping is at less than normal value.

    • US states dumping is a sale at less than “fair value.”

    • Normal value- export price= dumping margin.

    • What is a “like product”?

Dumping adjustments

Dumping Adjustments

  • Pesquera Mares Australes Ltd v. U.S. (Chilean salmon) : violated U.S. antidumping laws by selling foreign salmon at less than fair value.

  • Export price= price w/o shipping charges sold to unrelated buyer in importing country.

  • Market Viability and Constructed Value.

  • Sales Below Cost.

  • The “Level of Trade” Problem.

Wto dispute settlement

WTO Dispute Settlement

  • Disputes taken to the WTO Dispute Settlement Panel.

  • Panel must accept the “facts” as found by the ITA/ITC in their investigation.

Dumping and non market economy countries

Dumping and Non-market Economy Countries

  • See theBulk Aspirin from the People’s Republic of China (ITA, 2000):

    • The ITC found injury to US producers of aspirin but the ITA in calculating the dumping margin cut the antidumping duties to zero. Rhodia testified that without the duties its business disappeared. Rhodia closed its U.S. plant and moved to China.

Unfair import laws subsidies and countervailing duties

Unfair Import Laws: Subsidies and Countervailing Duties

  • 1994 Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures

  • Unfair Imports

  • Consistent with GATT


Unfair import laws subsidies and countervailing duties1

Unfair Import Laws: Subsidies and Countervailing Duties

  • Subsidy: government confers a benefit on a domestic firm and provides income, price support or financial contribution (not collecting a tax, providing grant or loan at favorable rate) in order to achieve a social or economic objective

Unfair import laws subsidies and countervailing duties2

Unfair Import Laws: Subsidies and Countervailing Duties

  • Prohibited Subsidies: export subsidies or import substitution subsidy.

  • Domestic Subsidies: Some subsidies are permitted as part of government’s responsibility to fund social programs and provide growth.

Remedies for adverse subsidies

Remedies for Adverse Subsidies

  • Adverse Effect Subsidies: domestic subsidies which give unfair competitive advantage to domestic firms.

  • Actionable at WTO if:

    • Cause injury to domestic industry, OR

    • Cause nullification and impairment of rights, OR

    • Cause “serious prejudice.” (Presumed to exist if the subsidy exceeds 5% of its value.)

  • Upstream Subsidies: granted for raw materials.

Nonactionable or socially beneficial subsidies

Nonactionable or Socially Beneficial Subsidies

  • Not actionable under WTO rules. Include:

    • Industry or universities for expanding knowledge.

    • Poor, depressed, or underemployed geographic regions.

  • WTO uses binding arbitration to decide.

Subsidies and state owned enterprises

Subsidies and State-Owned Enterprises

  • Presents several problems when enterprises are owned by countries without a market economy.

  • 2007, the Department of Commerce began applying the countervailing duty to nonmarket countries like China.

  • What about state-owned enterprises that have transitioned to private. 

U s countervailing measures concerning certain products from the ec steel 2002

U.S. Countervailing Measures Concerning Certain products from the EC (steel) 2002

  • EC challenges U.S. use of “same person” test. The panel found that the U.S.violated the WTO Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing measures (SCM).

  • Subsequently in 2003, the ITA changed its rules. The presumption is rebuttable if the company can show that the government sold its interest , retains no control and it was an arm’s length transaction at fair market value.

Controversy and injury

Controversy and Injury

  • Continued Dumping and Subsidy Offset (2000), required countervailing duties collected by U.S. government be paid directly to petitioning companies.

    • In 2005, EU, Mexico, Canada, and Japan began retaliating by imposed tariffs on U.S. goods.

    • Law is now repealed.

  • What about the “material injury” requirement?

Judicial review

Judicial Review

  • Countervailable duties and Antidumping duties may be reviewed by the CIT (both final determinations and negative injury).

  • Limited review in Escape Clause.



  • Complex interrelated international and national regulations.

  • Businesses will face these issue at home and abroad.

  • What role WTO will play in the future?

  • Role of politics- reflections?

  • Other news items?

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