MFN: Most-favoured-nation treatment (GATT Article I, GATS Article II and TRIPS Article 4), the principle of not discriminating between one’s trading partners.
National treatment: The principle of giving others the same treatment as one’s own nationals. GATT Article III requires that imports be treated no less favourably than the same or similar domestically produced goods once they have passed customs. GATS Article XVII and TRIPS Article 3 also deal with national treatment for services and intellectual property protection.
Uruguay Round Multilateral trade negotiations launched at Punta del Este, Uruguay in September 1986 and concluded in Geneva in December 1993. Signed by Ministers in Marrakesh, Morocco, in April 1994.
Tariffs: Customs duties on merchandise imports. Levied either on an ad valorem basis (percentage of value) or on a specific basis (e.g. $7 per 100 kgs.). Tariffs give price advantage to similar locally produced goods and raise revenues for the government.
Tariff binding: Commitment not to increase a rate of duty beyond an agreed level. Once a rate of duty is bound, it may not be raised without compensating the affected parties.
Tariff peaks: Relatively high tariffs, usually on “sensitive” products, amidst generally low tariff levels. For industrialized countries, tariffs of 15 per cent and above are generally recognized as “tariff peaks”.
Countervailing measures: Action taken by the importing country, usually in the form of increased duties to offset subsidies given to producers or exporters in the exporting country.
Dumping: Dumping occurs when goods are exported at a price less than their normal value, generally meaning they are exported for less than they are sold in the domestic market or third-country markets, or at less than production cost.
NTMs: Non-tariff measures include measures such as quotas, import licensing systems, sanitary regulations, prohibitions, etc.
Safeguard measures: Action taken to protect a specific industry from an unexpected build-up of imports — governed by Article XIX of the GATT 1994.
Subsidy: There are two general types of subsidies: export and domestic. An export subsidy is a benefit conferred on a firm by the government that is contingent on exports. A domestic subsidy is a benefit not directly linked to exports.
Tariffication: Procedures relating to the agricultural market-access provision in which all non-tariff measures are converted into tariffs.
MFA: Multifibre Arrangement (1974-94) under which countries whose markets are disrupted by increased imports of textiles and clothing from another country were able to negotiate quota restrictions.
Distortion: When prices and production are higher or lower than levels that would usually exist in a competitive market.
Box: Category of domestic support. Green box: Supports considered not to distort trade and therefore permitted with no limits. Blue box: Permitted supports linked to production, but subject to production limits and therefore minimally trade-distorting. Amber box: Supports considered to distort trade and therefore subject to reduction commitments.
Cairns Group: Group of agricultural exporting nations lobbying for agricultural trade liberalization. It was formed in 1986 in Cairns, Australia just before the beginning of the Uruguay Round. Current membership: Australia, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Fiji, Indonesia, Malaysia, New Zealand, Paraguay, the Philippines, South Africa, Thailand and Uruguay.
Multifunctionality: Idea that agriculture has many functions in addition to producing food and fibre, e.g. environmental protection, landscape preservation, rural employment, etc.
Peace clause: Provision in Article 13 of the Agriculture Agreement says agricultural subsidies committed under the agreement cannot be challenged under other WTO agreements, in particular the Subsidies Agreement and GATT. Expires at the end of 2003.
SPS regulations: Sanitary and Phytosanitary regulations — government standards to protect human, animal and plant life and health, to help ensure that food is safe for consumption.
Free trade area: Trade within the group is duty free but members set own tariffs on imports from non-members (e.g. NAFTA).
General obligations: Obligations, which should be applied to all services sector at the entry into force of the agreement.
Initial commitments: Trade liberalizing commitments in services which members are prepared to make early on.
Modes of delivery: How international trade in services is supplied and consumed. Mode 1: cross border supply; mode 2: consumption abroad; mode 3: foreign commercial presence; and mode 4: movement of natural persons.
National schedules: The equivalent of tariff schedules in GATT, laying down the commitments accepted — voluntarily or through negotiation — by WTO members.
Natural persons: People, as distinct from juridical persons such as companies and organizations.