Document Type

Working Paper

Publication Date

2016

Abstract

Scheduling additional commitments for policies affecting trade in goods in the GATT has been plagued by two sources of ambiguity: the treatment of changes introduced unilaterally by members subsequent to an initial commitment, and the treatment of new commitments by WTO members pertaining to nontariff policy measures affecting trade in goods. This is not the case for trade in services, as the GATS makes explicit provision for additional commitments to be scheduled. Neither secondary law, in the form of decisions formally adopted by the WTO membership, nor case law has clarified the situation for trade in goods. This matter is important for the WTO as it determines the feasibility of clubs of countries agreeing to new enforceable policy disciplines that bind only signatories but are applied on a non-discriminatory basis to all WTO members. In this paper, we discuss the legal state of play and the ‘policy space’ that WTO members have to establish new MFN club-based disciplines for nontariff measures.

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