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Is Taiwan ready for the challenge of the WTO?: an examination of Taiwan's import safeguard clauses from a comparative perspective Chen, Hsiao-Ting

Abstract

The Agreement Establishing the World Trade Organization (WTO) came into force on January 1, 1995. Its comprehensive scope will hasten the trade liberalization process and facilitate world trade in the future. On the other hand, it is possible that some domestic industries will face stringent and unexpected competition from their foreign counterparts. Consequently, an import safeguard clause is arguably necessary to function as a safety valve to alleviate the shock of trade liberalization. Such a clause could provide a means by which domestic industries are able to make structural adjustments to compete with foreign businesses successfully in the long term. Given the importance of developing an effective import relief system, the primary purpose of this thesis is to provide a useful analysis of and concrete suggestions for new safeguard rules for Taiwan, in accordance with the norms of GATT/WTO. Reference will also be made to the safeguard systems and related rules and policies of the European Union and the United States, which have long-standing safeguard systems. Through comparison, this research will evaluate whether the new safeguard rules of Taiwan contain any inappropriate provisions and whether the legislation is sufficient to meet the challenges anticipated after Taiwan joins the WTO. The research will also discuss whether it is appropriate for Taiwan to emulate the same safeguard rules of other selected countries (like the U.S. and EU) to solve related problems, or whether such rules need to be changed to suit the economic situation of Taiwan. In general, the current import safeguard clauses of Taiwan are consistent with WTO principles, although there are some procedures that probably need to be amended. Reinforcing trade adjustment assistance and establishing dispute settlement channels should also be the focus of future improvements for Taiwan's import safeguard system.

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