Agreement on Trade-Related Investment Measures

The Agreement on Trade-Related Investment Measures (TRIMs) are rules that are applicable to the domestic regulations a country applies to foreign investors, often as part of an industrial policy. The agreement, concluded in 1994, was negotiated under the WTO's predecessor, the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), and came into force in 1995. The agreement was agreed upon by all members of the World Trade Organization. Trade-Related Investment Measures is one of the four principal legal agreements of the WTO trade treaty.

TRIMs are rules that restrict preference of domestic firms and thereby enable international firms to operate more easily within foreign markets. Policies such as local content requirements and trade balancing rules that have traditionally been used to both promote the interests of domestic industries and combat restrictive business practices are now banned.

How it came in action

In the late 1980s, there was a significant increase in foreign direct investment across the world. However, some of the countries receiving foreign investment imposed numerous restrictions on that investment designed to protect and foster domestic industries, and to prevent the outflow of foreign exchange reserves.

Examples of these restrictions include local content requirements (which require that locally produced goods be purchased or used), manufacturing requirements (which require the domestic manufacturing of certain components), trade balancing requirements, domestic sales requirements, technology transfer requirements, export performance requirements (which require the export of a specified percentage of production volume), local equity restrictions, foreign exchange restrictions, remittance restrictions, licensing requirements, and employment restrictions. These measures can also be used in connection with fiscal incentives as opposed to requirement. Some of these investment measures distort trade in violation of GATT Articles III and XI, and are therefore prohibited.

Until the completion of the Uruguay Round negotiations, which produced a well-rounded Agreement on Trade-Related Investment Measures (hereinafter the "TRIMs Agreement"), the few international agreements providing disciplines for measures restricting foreign investment provided only limited guidance in terms of content and country coverage. The OECD Code on Liberalization of Capital Movements, for example, requires members to liberalize restrictions on direct investment in a range of areas. The OECD Code's efficacy, however, is limited by the numerous reservations made by each of the members.

In addition, there are other international treaties, bilateral and multilateral, under which signatories extend most-favored-nation treatment to direct investment. Only a few such treaties, however, provide national treatment for direct investment. The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Investment Principles adopted in November 1994 are general rules for investment but they are non-binding.

Legal framework

GATT 1947 prohibited investment measures that violated the principles of national treatment and the general elimination of quantitative restrictions, but the extent of the prohibitions was never clear. The TRIMs Agreement, however, contains statements prohibiting any TRIMs that are inconsistent with the provisions of Articles III or XI of GATT 1994. In addition, it provides an illustrative list that explicitly prohibits local content requirements, trade balancing requirements, foreign exchange restrictions and export restrictions (domestic sales requirements) that would violate Article III:4 or XI:1 of GATT 1994. TRIMs prohibited by the Agreement include those that are mandatory or enforceable under domestic law or administrative rulings, or those with which compliance is necessary to obtain an advantage (such as subsidies or tax breaks).

Figure 8-1 contains a list of measures specifically prohibited by the TRIMs Agreement. Note that this figure is not exhaustive, but simply illustrates TRIMs that are prohibited by the TRIMs Agreement. The figure, therefore, calls particular attention to several common types of TRIMs. We would add that this figure identifies measures that were also inconsistent with Article III:4 and XI:1 of GATT 1947. Indeed, the TRIMs Agreement is not intended to impose new obligations, but to clarify the pre-existing GATT 1947 obligations. Under the WTO TRIMs Agreement, countries are required to rectify any measures inconsistent with the Agreement, within a set period of time, with a few exceptions (noted in Figure 8-2).[1]

<Figure 8-1> Examples of TRIMs Explicitly Prohibited by the TRIMs Agreement
Local content requirement Trade balancing requirements Foreign exchange restrictions Export restrictions (Domestic sales requirements)
Measures requiring the purchase or use by an enterprise of domestic products, whether specified in terms of particular products, in terms of volume or value of products, or in terms of a proportion of volume or value of its local production. (Violation of GATT Article III:4) 1.Measures requiring that an enterprise's purchases or use of imported products be limited to an amount related to the volume or value of local products that it exports. (Violation of GATT Article III:4)2.Measures restricting the importation by an enterprise of products used in or related to its local production, generally or to an amount related to the volume or value of local production that it exports. (Violation of GATT Article XI:1) Measures restricting the importation by an enterprise of products (parts and other goods) used in or related to its local Production by restricting its access to foreign exchange to an amount related to the foreign exchange inflows attributable to the enterprise. (Violation of GATT Article XI:1) Measures restricting the exportation or sale for export by an enterprise of products, whether specified in terms of particular products, in terms of volume or value of products, or in terms of a proportion of volume or value of its local production. (Violation of GATT Article XI:1)
<Figure 8-2> Exceptional Provisions of the TRIMs Agreement
Transitional period Exceptions for developing countries Equitable provisions
Measures specifically prohibited by the TRIMs Agreement need not be eliminated immediately, although such measures must be notified to the WTO within 90 days after the entry into force of the TRIMs Agreement. Developed countries will have a period of two years in which to abolish such measures; in principle, developing countries will have five years and least-developed countries will have seven years. Developing countries are permitted to retain TRIMs that constitute a violation of GATT Article III or XI, provided the measures meet the conditions of GATT Article XVIII which allows specified derogation from the GATT provisions, by virtue of the economic development needs of developing countries. To avoid damaging the competitiveness of companies already subject to TRIMs, governments are allowed to apply the same TRIMs to new foreign direct investment during the transitional period described in (1) above.

[1]

See also

References

  1. ^ a b Chapter 8: Trade-Related Investment Measures
Bilateral investment treaty

A bilateral investment treaty (BIT) is an agreement establishing the terms and conditions for private investment by nationals and companies of one state in another state. This type of investment is called foreign direct investment (FDI). BITs are established through trade pacts. A nineteenth-century forerunner of the BIT is the friendship, commerce, and navigation treaty (FCN).Most BITs grant investments made by an investor of one Contracting State in the territory of the other a number of guarantees, which typically include fair and equitable treatment, protection from expropriation, free transfer of means and full protection and security. The distinctive feature of many BITs is that they allow for an alternative dispute resolution mechanism, whereby an investor whose rights under the BIT have been violated could have recourse to international arbitration, often under the auspices of the ICSID (International Center for the Settlement of Investment Disputes), rather than suing the host State in its own courts. This process is called investor-state dispute settlement.

The world's first BIT was signed on November 25, 1959 between Pakistan and Germany. There are currently more than 2500 BITs in force, involving most countries in the world. Influential capital exporting states usually negotiate BITs on the basis of their own "model" texts (such as the Indian or U.S. model BIT).

European Union and its Member States — Certain Measures Relating to the Energy Sector

European Union and its Member States — Certain Measures Relating to the Energy Sector, DS476, is the formal name of a case brought by the Russian Federation against the European Union and its member states in the World Trade Organization's Dispute Settlement Body.The case was formally initiated with the filing of a complaint by Russia (in WTO terms, a "request for consultations") on April 30, 2014. The dispute concerns the EU's Third Energy Package, which consists of various two EU directives and EU regulations.Russia claims that the measures within the package violate Articles II, VI, XVI and XVII of the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS); Articles I, III, X and XI of the 1994 General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT); Article 3 of the Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures (SCM); and Article 2 of the Agreement on Trade Related Investment Measures (TRIM).

Index of Sri Lanka-related articles (A)

This page lists Sri Lanka-related articles with titles beginning with an alphabet letter A.

International investment agreement

An International Investment Agreement (IIA) is a type of treaty between countries that addresses issues relevant to cross-border investments, usually for the purpose of protection, promotion and liberalization of such investments. Most IIAs cover foreign direct investment (FDI) and portfolio investment, but some exclude the latter. Countries concluding IIAs commit themselves to adhere to specific standards on the treatment of foreign investments within their territory. IIAs further define procedures for the resolution of disputes should these commitments not be met. The most common types of IIAs are Bilateral Investment Treaties (BITs) and Preferential Trade and Investment Agreements (PTIAs). International Taxation Agreements and Double Taxation Treaties (DTTs) are also considered as IIAs, as taxation commonly has an important impact on foreign investment.

Bilateral investment treaties deal primarily with the admission, treatment and protection of foreign investment. They usually cover investments by enterprises or individuals of one country in the territory of its treaty partner. Preferential Trade and Investment Agreements are treaties among countries on cooperation in economic and trade areas. Usually they cover a broader set of issues and are concluded at bilateral or regional levels. In order to classify as IIAs, PTIAs must include, among other content, specific provisions on foreign investment. International taxation agreements deal primarily with the issue of double taxation in international financial activities (e.g., regulating taxes on income, assets or financial transactions). They are commonly concluded bilaterally, though some agreements also involve a larger number of countries.

List of multilateral free-trade agreements

This is a list of multilateral free-trade agreements, between several countries all treated equally. For agreements between two countries, between a bloc and a country, or between two blocs, see list of bilateral free-trade agreements; these are not listed below.

Every customs union, common market, economic union, customs and monetary union and economic and monetary union is also a free-trade area; these are listed on these separate articles and are not included below.

For a general explanation, see free-trade area.

Multilateral Agreement on Investment

The Multilateral Agreement on Investment (MAI) was a draft agreement negotiated in secret between members of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) between 1995 and 1998. It sought to establish a new body of universal investment laws that would grant corporations unconditional rights to engage in financial operations around the world, without any regard to national laws and citizens' rights. The draft gave corporations a right to sue governments if national health, labor or environment legislation threatened their interests. When its draft became public in 1997, it drew widespread criticism from civil society groups and developing countries, particularly over the possibility that the agreement would make it difficult to regulate foreign investors. After an intense global campaign was waged against the MAI by the treaty's critics, the host nation France announced in October 1998 that it would not support the agreement, effectively preventing its adoption due to the OECD's consensus procedures.

World Trade Organization

The World Trade Organization (WTO) is an intergovernmental organization that is concerned with the regulation of international trade between nations. The WTO officially commenced on 1 January 1995 under the Marrakesh Agreement, signed by 124 nations on 15 April 1994, replacing the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), which commenced in 1948. It is the largest international economic organization in the world.The WTO deals with regulation of trade in goods, services and intellectual property between participating countries by providing a framework for negotiating trade agreements and a dispute resolution process aimed at enforcing participants' adherence to WTO agreements, which are signed by representatives of member governments and ratified by their parliaments. The WTO prohibits discrimination between trading partners, but provides exceptions for environmental protection, national security, and other important goals. Trade-related disputes are resolved by independent judges at the WTO through a dispute resolution process.The WTO's current Director-General is Roberto Azevêdo, who leads a staff of over 600 people in Geneva, Switzerland. A trade facilitation agreement, part of the Bali Package of decisions, was agreed by all members on 7 December 2013, the first comprehensive agreement in the organization's history. On 23 January 2017, the amendment to the WTO Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) Agreement marks the first time since the organization opened in 1995 that WTO accords have been amended, and this change should secure for developing countries a legal pathway to access affordable remedies under WTO rules.Studies show that the WTO boosted trade, and that barriers to trade would be higher in the absence of the WTO. The WTO has highly influenced the text of trade agreements, as "nearly all recent [preferential trade agreements (PTAs)] reference the WTO explicitly, often dozens of times across multiple chapters... in many of these same PTAs we find that substantial portions of treaty language—sometime the majority of a chapter—is copied verbatim from a WTO agreement."

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