Exceptions and Escape Clauses

  • Victoria Curzon
Part of the Trade Policy Research Centre book series (TPRC)


Escape clauses are a standard feature of commercial treaties. They allow contracting parties, under conditions specified in advance, to derogate from some or all of the obligations contained in these treaties. Escape clauses are usually essential in order to persuade countries to accede to the treaty in the first place. They can be regarded as negative obligations (or reserved rights), and they place conditions and limitations upon the positive obligations contained in the main part of the treaty. The scope of these “negative obligations” is always the subject of careful negotiation, since they have a decisive influence on the extent of the positive obligations assumed. The most ambitious positive obligations can, in practice, be reduced to a very mediocre level of mutual understanding if escape clauses are worded broadly enough.


Free Trade Economic Integration Transitional Period Quantitative Restriction Stockholm Convention 
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  1. 24.
    EFTA, Tenth Annual Report (Geneva: EFTA Secretariat, 1970).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1974

Authors and Affiliations

  • Victoria Curzon
    • 1
  1. 1.Institut Universitaire d’Études EuropéennesUniversity of GenevaGenevaSwitzerland

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