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Still Going “Grey” After All These Years? Export-Restraint Agreements and the WTO

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Chapter Summary

This chapter assesses how the dual strategy that aimed to eliminate "grey area" measures has worked out in practice, also in the light of the protectionist pressures unleashed by the current economic crisis. After providing a brief overview of the historic proliferation of these measures, it discusses whether the attempt to render ordinary safeguard measures a more attractive alternative to voluntary restraint agreements (VRAs) has worked in practice. The chapter analyses some of the intrinsic and extrinsic weaknesses of the ban itself. The chapter reviews some cases of export-restraint agreements arguably falling within the exceptions to the ban enshrined in Art. 11.1.C. This work has examined the dual strategy through which the World Trade Organisation (WTO) Agreement on Safeguards intended to reintegrate these measures within the WTO system of legality (by forbidding export-restraint agreement, on the one hand, and trying to revive legal safeguards on the other).

Keywords: Art. 11.1.C; export-restraint agreements; extrinsic weaknesses; grey area; legal safeguards; voluntary restraint agreements (VRAs); WTO agreement



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