WTO member may take a safeguard action (i.e.,
restrict imports of a product temporarily) to protect a
specific domestic industry from an increase in imports of
any product which is causing, or which is threatening to
cause, serious injury to the industry.
measures were always available under the GATT (Article
XIX). However, they were infrequently used, and some
governments preferred to protect their industries through grey area measures (voluntary
export restraint arrangements on products such as cars,
steel and semiconductors).
WTO Safeguards Agreement broke new ground in prohibiting
grey area measures and setting time limits
(sunset clause) on all safeguard actions.
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