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. L'“Final Act (link is external)” 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 (link is external) (or the WTO Agreement). This is a global agreement, to which are attached the agreements on trade in goods (link is external), trade in services (link is external), intellectual property (link is external), dispute resolution (external link is ) and the Trade Policy Review Mechanism (link is external) and the plurilateral agreements (link is external). Schedules of commitments (link is external) are also part of the Uruguay Round agreements.
3.1. Appendix 1A(link is external) 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 (link is external). This agreement expired on 1st of January, 2005 ;
3.2. Annex 1B (link is external) 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 (link is external) includes the Agreement on Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), including trade in counterfeit goods.
3.4. Annexe 2 (link is external) includes the Memorandum of Understanding on Rules and Procedures Governing the Settlement of Disputes.
3.5. Annex 3 ( link is external) regarding the review mechanism of trade policies of WTO members.
3.6. Annex 4 deals with the plurilateral trade agreements. These are :
- The Agreement on Trade in Civil Aircraft (link is external) (;
- The Government Procurement Agreement (link is external)(link is external) ;
- The international agreement on the dairy sector (link is external) ;
- The international agreement on beef (link is external) .
The last two agreements were repealed in late 1997.