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Provision for Escape Clauses and other Safeguards

  • David Robertson

Abstract

“Escape clauses” are an accepted feature of all types of international trade agreement and are an expression of national sovereignty. Following the bitter experience of the 1930s, governments involved in the negotiation of commercial treaties since 1945 have been anxious to retain adequate powers to safeguard their economies from unexpected problems that might arise, either directly from their commitments to an agreement or indirectly from unrelated developments which adherence to an agreement might exacerbate. The actual contents of escape provisions therefore have a decisive influence on the scope of obligations undertaken in international trade agreements.

Keywords

Trade Liberalisation Stockholm Convention Voluntary Export Restraint Market Disruption Escape Clause 
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Notes

  1. 1.
    See, for example, Annex G, on special arrangements for Portugal, in the Stockholm Convention, the constitution of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA). Building EFTA: a Free Trade Area in Europe (Geneva: EFTA Secretariat, 1968).Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Such a formulation was advanced in William D Eberle, “Trade Issues for the 197os”, an address to the Trade Policy Research Centre, London, November 23, 1971. Mr. Eberle, as President Nixon’s Special Representative for Trade, was speaking as a key spokesman in the United States Administration on American foreign economic policy. For a broader reflection of the consensus, see the proposals of the International Chamber of Commerce, based on the report by Jean Royer, The Liberalisation of International Trade during the Next Decade (Paris: International Chamber of Commerce, 1969).Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    For a discussion of the “grandfather clause”, as the protocol is called, see Kenneth W. Dam, The GATT Law and International Economic Organisation (Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 1970), pp. 341–44.Google Scholar
  4. 5.
    See Gerard and Victoria Curzon, Hidden Barriers to International Trade Thames Essay No. I (London: Trade Policy Research Centre, 1970); and alsoGoogle Scholar
  5. Harald B. Malmgren, “Negotiating Non-Tariff Barriers: the Harmonisation of National Economic Policies”, in US Foreign Economic Policy for the 1970s: a New Approach to New Realities (Washington: National Planning Association, 1971).Google Scholar
  6. 8.
    Where demand elasticities are low, an exchange-rate adjustment would be inappropriate. See E. Sohman, Flexible Exchange Rates (Chicago: University of Chicago, 1969), Ch. 1.Google Scholar
  7. 10.
    Presidential Commission on Trade and Investment Policy, United States International Economic Policy in an Interdependent World Williams Report (Washington; US Government Printing Office, 1971). See the papers on governmental responses to import competition prepared by various specialists (pp. 139–548) in the two volumes of papers published with the report under the same title.Google Scholar
  8. 13.
    Randall Hinshaw, The European Community and American Trade (New York: Praeger, for Council on Foreign Relations, 1964).Google Scholar
  9. 14.
    See Trends in International Trade Haberler Report (Geneva: GATT Secretariat, 1958Google Scholar
  10. and Harry G. Johnson, World Economy at the Crossroads (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1965 ).Google Scholar
  11. 16.
    For a discussion of EFTA experience in relation to future trade negotiations, see David Robertson, “Perspectives on New Trade Initiatives”, and Johnson, “Global Strategy for Trade Expansion”, in Hugh Corbet and Robertson (eds.), Europe’s Free Trade Area Experiment: EFTA and Economic Integration (Oxford and New York: Pergamon Press, 1970), pp. 205–22 and 223–38 respectively.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Trade Policy Research Centre 1972

Authors and Affiliations

  • David Robertson

There are no affiliations available

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