INTERNATIONAL REGULATIONS RELATING TO FOREIGN TRADE
International trade regulations consist essentially of the World Trade Organization's tools.
1. Uruguay Round Agreements :
The agreement establishing the World Trade Organization has several appendixes containing the WTO agreements. The entire regulatory system is based on the agreements of the Uruguay Round. The "Final Act. “Acte final” was signed in 1994 in Marrakech. All other WTO texts are appendixed thereto.
2. The WTO Agreement
In the first position of the appendixes, figures the agreement establishing the WTO (or the WTO Agreement). It is a global agreement, to which are appended the agreements on trade in goods services trade, services trade , intellectual property , dispute settlement and the trade policy review mechanism as well as the plurilateral agreements . Schedules of commitments are also part of the Uruguay Round agreements.
3.1. Appendix 1A encompasses the multilateral agreements on trade in goods. It is the GATT 1994 and twelve other agreements, defining the essential rules and disciplines applicable to trade in goods. This agreement aims to promote and ensure the liberalization of world trade, driving governments to reduce tariffs, remove barriers to trade in goods and establish fair and equitable conditions of competition.
The agreement provides that the WTO shall continue the practice of decision-making by consensus. We consider that there is consensus that, when a decision must be made, none of the member countries will object. If it is not possible to reach a consensus, the Agreement provides for the possibility to make the decision by a simple majority vote, with each country having one vote.
The aim is to offer companies from different countries a stable and predictable environment in which they can trade in fair and equitable conditions of competition.
The agreements concerned are :
- The Agreement on Textiles and Clothing . This agreement expired on 1st January 2005 ;
3.2. Annex 1B contains the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS).
This agreement is the first set of rules and disciplines agreed at multilateral level to govern international trade in services. It consists of three elements: a general framework containing the basic obligations that apply to all WTO members, national schedules of specific commitments on market access and, finally, annexes laying down special conditions for different sectors.
3.3. Annex 1C includes the Agreement on Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), including trade in counterfeit goods.
3.4. Annex 2 includes the Memorandum of Understanding on Rules and Procedures Governing the Settlement of Disputes.
3.5. Annex 3 regarding the review mechanism of trade policies of WTO members.
3.6. Annex 4 deals with the plurilateral trade agreements. These are :
The last two agreements were repealed in late 1997.