By Jonathan Reuvid
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Extra info for A Handbook of World Trade: A Strategic Guide to Trading Internationally
Many of the developing countries were not yet prepared to follow the style and pace of development imposed by industrialized countries. It was not until the early to mid-1990s that they acknowledged that the open market model yielded more benefits for them than protection. Such recalcitrance inspired a group of like-minded countries, led by the USA, into thinking that the multilateral trading system should be open only to those willing and capable to abide by the rules of the system. The GATT seemed to have lost its grip on the multilateral trading system, unable to discipline its greatest guarantor, the USA, which behaved like a pariah of the system.
It implicitly ensures that domestic legislation and administrative measures do not constitute a form of protectionism against foreign products. The main exceptions to the principle of non-discrimination are customs unions and free trade areas (Article XXIV), general exceptions to protect public safety and national security (Articles XX and XXI), and an exemption of a historical nature, which allowed the continuance of preferences granted to former colonial territories when the GATT entered into force.
The lack of appropriate multilateral safeguard disciplines was considered to be a major weakness of the GATT. The primary objective being that of reducing tariff barriers to trade, a central feature of the GATT is the commitment to limit tariff levels through bindings or concessions in schedules, as provided for in Article II. These voluminous schedules list detailed product descriptions and a specific or ad valorem tariff level, which constitutes the treaty obligation for that product or that country (Jackson, 1989).
A Handbook of World Trade: A Strategic Guide to Trading Internationally by Jonathan Reuvid