Foe or Friend of GATT Article XXIV: Diversity in Trade Remedy Rules
AbstractWhile the WTO Member countries continue to increase their FTA arrangements with divergent frameworks, they have begun to adopt modified WTO trade remedy systems in FTAs. Although the content and degree of these modified systems may not be significant yet, they still set very important precedents, or ‘seeds’, for ‘rule diversification’ in the world trading system. Such modification typically aims to further liberalize mutual trade between FTA parties and thereby contribute to a freer world trading system. However, such rule diversification appears to be inconsistent with the mandate of Article XXIV of GATT by worsening economically inferior trade diversion. The reinterpretation of the legal obligations in Article XXIV commensurate with economically more reasonable structures implies that trade remedy rules in FTAs should be applied on a non-discriminatory basis. Moreover, an FTA safeguard measure must precede a WTO safeguard measure to ensure optimal competitive conditions among trading partners. In sum, the right channel for improving the current WTO trade remedy systems is not the FTA forums but the WTO negotiation.