Framework Agreement

  • (a) (GATT/WTO): The Tokyo Round of the GATT called for consideration to be given “to improvements in the international framework for the conduct of world trade.” Four separate agreements make up what is known as the “framework agreement.”

They concern:

  1. differential and more favorable treatment for, and reciprocity and fuller participation by, developing countries in the international framework for trade;
  2. trade measures taken for balance of payments purposes;
  3. safeguard actions for development purposes;
  4. an understanding on notification, consultation, dispute settlement, and surveillance in the GATT.
  • (b) Under the umbrella of the Enterprise for the Americas Initiative the United States and interested Western Hemisphere countries are negotiating bilateral “framework agreements” which establish agreed upon stages for eliminating counterproductive barriers to trade and investment. They also provide a forum for bilateral dispute settlement.

Generally, bilateral framework agreements contain similar objectives. They are based on a statement of agreed principles regarding the benefits of open trade and investment, increased importance of services to economies, the need for adequate intellectual property rights protection, the importance of observing and promoting internationally recognized worker rights, and the desirability of resolving trade and investment problems expeditiously. The parties establish a Council on Trade and Investment to monitor trade and investment relations, hold consultations on specific trade and investment matters of interest to both sides, and work toward removing impediments to trade and investment flows. Framework agreements do not bind signatories to implement specific trade liberalization measures.

See General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade.

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