The Policy Recommendations on the Extension of Safeguard Investigations


The Agreement on Safeguards sets forth the rules for application of safeguard measures pursuant to Article XIX of GATT 1994. Safeguard measures are defined as “emergency” actions with respect to increased imports of particular products, where such imports have caused or threaten to cause serious injury to the importing Member's domestic industry. Such measures, which in broad terms take the form of suspension of concessions or obligations, can consist of quantitative import restrictions or of duty increases to higher than bound rates.

Major guiding principles of the Agreement with respect to safeguard measures are that such measures must be temporary; that they may be imposed only when imports are found to cause or threaten serious injury to a competing domestic industry; that they be applied on a non-selective that they be progressively liberalized while in effect; and that the Member imposing them must pay compensation to the Members whose trade is affected.

The Safeguard Agreement was negotiated in large part because GATT Contracting Parties increasingly had been applying a variety of so-called “grey area” measures to limit imports of certain products. These measures were not imposed pursuant to Article XIX, and thus were not subject to multilateral discipline through the GATT, and the legality of such measures under the GATT was doubtful. The Agreement now clearly prohibits such measures, and has specific provisions for eliminating those that were in place at the time the WTO Agreement entered into force.

In its own words, the Safeguard Agreement, which explicitly applies equally to all Members, aims to: (1) clarify and reinforce GATT disciplines, particularly those of Article XIX; (2) re-establish multilateral control over safeguards and eliminate measures that escape such control; and (3) encourage structural adjustment on the part of industries adversely affected by increased imports, thereby enhancing competition in international markets.

Nowadays, there is a gap analysis to see what the extension of safeguard investigation definition is. The WTO sees on the law under Article 7.2 Agreement on Safeguards. If we see under that agreement, we look forward on how the reader interprets this agreements.

Furthermore, there was a case of the other WTO member country has been evaluated on the Agreement on Safeguards under article 7.2. They see that this agreement refers to the initial period of the first measure. If we see the European Union has explained that there were some requirements which impacts on the extension of safeguard investigations.

The period of safeguard measures shall not exceed four years for initial, unless it is extended until the maximum period is ten years for developing countries. The requirements are needed to assess the feasibility of the extension of safeguard investigations.