Provision for Escape Clauses and other Safeguards

  • David Robertson


“Escape clauses” are an accepted feature of all types of international trade agreement and are an expression of national sovereignty. Following the bitter experience of the 1930s, governments involved in the negotiation of commercial treaties since 1945 have been anxious to retain adequate powers to safeguard their economies from unexpected problems that might arise, either directly from their commitments to an agreement or indirectly from unrelated developments which adherence to an agreement might exacerbate. The actual contents of escape provisions therefore have a decisive influence on the scope of obligations undertaken in international trade agreements.


Trade Liberalisation Stockholm Convention Voluntary Export Restraint Market Disruption Escape Clause 
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    See, for example, Annex G, on special arrangements for Portugal, in the Stockholm Convention, the constitution of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA). Building EFTA: a Free Trade Area in Europe (Geneva: EFTA Secretariat, 1968).Google Scholar
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    Such a formulation was advanced in William D Eberle, “Trade Issues for the 197os”, an address to the Trade Policy Research Centre, London, November 23, 1971. Mr. Eberle, as President Nixon’s Special Representative for Trade, was speaking as a key spokesman in the United States Administration on American foreign economic policy. For a broader reflection of the consensus, see the proposals of the International Chamber of Commerce, based on the report by Jean Royer, The Liberalisation of International Trade during the Next Decade (Paris: International Chamber of Commerce, 1969).Google Scholar
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© Trade Policy Research Centre 1972

Authors and Affiliations

  • David Robertson

There are no affiliations available

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