A G-20 protection standstill

Gov­ern­ments of the G-20 could agree that until at least, say, Decem­ber 2010 they would pledge:

  • No increas­es in any MFN applied rate of duty oth­er than for tech­ni­cal adjust­ments (com­ple­tion of HS trans­po­si­tions, for exam­ple).
  • No increas­es in any Cus­toms fees, excise duties apply­ing to imports, con­sump­tion tax­es apply­ing to imports.
  • No pre­lim­i­nary deter­mi­na­tions of anti-dump­ing duties (and there­fore, no new final duties either) or accep­tance of new under­tak­ings (if you want to stim­u­late con­sump­tion…).
  • No safe­guard action will be renewed, no new safe­guard action will be avail­able for more than 3 months
  • No new export sub­si­dies in any form (as defined by the Hong Kong Min­is­te­r­i­al dec­la­ra­tion).
  • No new buy-local pref­er­ences at any lev­el of gov­ern­ment for goods or ser­vices con­tracts. Exist­ing Gov­ern­ment Pro­cure­ment Code pro­vi­sions (includ­ing excep­tions) apply but Non-Mem­bers to be treat­ed as Mem­bers (MFN pro­vi­sion).
  • No new export restric­tions (mea­sures now in force—mainly secu­ri­ty based—may remain in force)

Would this work? Yes, I think so. Should they do it? Yes, absolute­ly.

Would they sign it? Giv­en that the G-20 includes gov­ern­ments such as India that appar­ent­ly hold the right to take safe­guard action as sacred, and the Unit­ed States (and Aus­tralia) that hold near­ly the same view on anti-dump­ing, and Rus­sia that is not yet a mem­ber of the WTO, the ques­tion is, at best, open.

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