Salient Features of WTO Agreements reached on the basis Of Uruguay Rounds.
Explain the main WTO Agreements.
SALIENT FEATURES OF URUGUAY ROUND IN WTO AGREEMENTS
The main agreements of WTO are:
1) Agreement On Agriculture (AOA)
The main objective is to increase market orientation in agriculture trade. It provides for commitments in the area of market access, domestic support and export competition. The members have to transform their non-tariff barriers like quotas into equivalent tariff measures. The tariffs are to be reduced by 36% within 6 years in case of developed countries and by 24% within 10 years in case of developed countries. The least developed countries need not make any commitment for reduction.
2) Agreement On Trade In Textiles And Clothing (Multi – Fiber Arrangement)
This provides for phasing out the import quotas on textiles and clothing in force under the Multi – Fibre Arrangement since 1974, over a| span of 10 years i.e. by 1st January, 2005. With this agreement quota on textile and clothing has now been abolished.
3) Agreement On Manufactured Goods
The developed countries agreed to reduce tariffs on manufactured goods other than textiles by 40%. The tariffs would now be brought down to an average of 3.8% from earlier 6.3%.
4) Agreement On TRIMs
An Agreement on Trade Related Investment Measures (TRIMs) calls for introducing national treatment of foreign investments and removal of quantitative restrictions. It identifies 5 investment measures that are inconsistent with the GATT provisions on national treatment and on general elimination of qualitative restrictions.
5) Agreement On TRIPs
Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPs) pertain to Patents and Copyrights. Whereas earlier on process patents were granted to food, medicines, drugs and chemical products, the TRIPs Agreement now provides for granting product patents also in all these areas. Protection will be available for 20 years for patents and 50 years for copyrights.
6) General Agreement On Trade And Services (GATS)
For the first time, trade in services like banking, insurance, travel, maritime transportation, mobility of labour etc. has been brought within the ambit of negotiations. The General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) provides a multilateral framework of principles and services that should govern trade in services under conditions of transparency and progressive liberalization.
7) Disputes Settlement Body
Settlement of disputes under GATT was a never ending process. The Disputes Settlement Body (DSB) set up under WTO seeks to plug the loopholes and provide security and predictability to the multilateral trading system. It has now been made mandatory to settle a dispute within 18 months. The findings of disputes settlement panels will be final and binding on all parties concerned.
In addition to the above, the Uruguay Round also reached agreements on the understanding and implications of certain articles of GATT 1947, viz, pre-shipment inspection, rules of origin, import licensing, anti – dumping measures and countervailing duties, safeguards, subsidies etc.