Chapter 7. Safeguard Measures
This Chapter applies to safeguard measures adopted or maintained by a Party affecting trade in goods among the Parties during the transitional safeguard period.
For the purposes of this Chapter:
- domestic industry means, with respect to an imported good, the producers as a whole of the like or directly competitive goods operating within a Party, or those whose collective output of the like or directly competitive goods constitutes a major proportion of the total domestic production of those goods;
- global safeguard measure means a measure applied under Article XIX of GATT 1994 and the Agreement on Safeguards in Annex 1A to the WTO Agreement (Safeguards Agreement) or Article 5 of the Agreement on Agriculture in Annex 1A to the WTO Agreement (Agreement on Agriculture);
- provisional measure means a provisional safeguard measure described in Article 7 (Provisional Safeguard Measures);
- safeguard measure means a transitional safeguard measure described in Article 6 (Scope and Duration of Transitional Safeguard Measures);
- serious injury means a significant overall impairment in the position of a domestic industry;
- threat of serious injury means serious injury that, on the basis of facts and not merely on allegation, conjecture, or remote possibility, is clearly imminent; and
- transitional safeguard period means, in relation to a particular good, the period from the entry into force of this Agreement until three years after the customs duty on that good is to be eliminated, or reduced to its final commitment, in accordance with that Party’s schedule of tariff commitments in Annex 1 (Schedules of Tariff Commitments).
Imposition of a Safeguard Measure
If, as a result of the reduction or elimination of a customs duty under this Agreement, an originating good of another Party or Parties is being imported into the territory of a Party during the transitional safeguard period for that good in such increased quantities, in absolute terms or relative to domestic production, and under such conditions as to cause or threaten to cause serious injury to a domestic industry that produces like or directly competitive goods, that Party may:
- suspend the further reduction of any rate of customs duty provided for under this Agreement on the good; or
- increase the rate of customs duty on the good to a level not exceeding the lesser of:
- the most-favoured-nation applied rate of duty on the good in effect at the time the action is taken; or
- the most-favoured-nation applied rate of duty on the good in effect on the day immediately preceding the date of entry into force of this Agreement.
- A Party shall take a safeguard measure only following an investigation by that Party’s competent authorities in accordance with the same procedures as those provided for in Article 3 and Article 4.2 of the Safeguards Agreement; and to this end, Article 3 and Article 4.2 of the Safeguards Agreement shall be incorporated into and shall form part of this Agreement, mutatis mutandis.
- Each Party shall ensure that its competent authorities complete any such investigation expeditiously and, in any event, within one year following the date of its initiation.
- A Party shall immediately notify the other Parties, in writing, on:
- initiating an investigation under Article 4 (Investigation);
- making a finding of serious injury or threat thereof caused by increased imports of an originating good of another Party or Parties resulting from the reduction or elimination of a customs duty on that originating good;
- taking a decision to apply or extend a safeguard measure;
- taking a decision to progressively liberalise an existing safeguard measure; or
- applying a provisional measure.
- A Party shall provide promptly to the other Parties a copy of the public version of the report of its competent authorities required under Article 4 (Investigation).
- In making a notification pursuant to Paragraph 1(c), the Party applying or extending a safeguard measure shall provide the other Parties with evidence of serious injury or threat of serious injury caused by increased imports of an originating good of another Party or Parties as a result of the reduction or elimination of a customs duty pursuant to this Agreement. Such notification shall include:
- a precise description of the originating good subject to the proposed safeguard measure including its heading or subheading under the HS Code, on which the schedules of tariff commitments in Annex 1 (Schedules of Tariff Commitments) are based;
- a precise description of the proposed safeguard measure; and
- the proposed date of the safeguard measure’s introduction, its expected duration, and a timetable for progressive liberalisation of the measure, if applicable. In the case of an extension of a measure, evidence that the domestic industry concerned is adjusting shall also be provided.
Upon request, the Party applying or extending a safeguard measure shall provide additional information as another Party or Parties may consider necessary.
- A Party proposing to apply or extend a safeguard measure shall provide adequate opportunity for prior consultations with those Parties which would be affected by the safeguard measure with a view to reviewing the information provided under Paragraphs 2 and 3 arising from the investigation referred to in Article 4 (Investigation), exchanging views on the safeguard measure and reaching an agreement on compensation as set forth in Article 8 (Compensation).
- Where a Party applies a provisional measure referred to in Article 7 (Provisional Safeguard Measures), on request of another Party or Parties, consultations shall be initiated immediately after such application.
- The provisions on notification in this Chapter shall not require a Party to disclose confidential information the disclosure of which would impede law enforcement or otherwise be contrary to the public interest or would prejudice the legitimate commercial interests of particular enterprises, public or private.
Scope and Duration of Transitional Safeguard Measures
- A Party may not maintain a safeguard measure:
- except to the extent, and for such time, as may be necessary to prevent or remedy serious injury and to facilitate adjustment;
- for a period exceeding two years, except that the period may be extended by up to one year if the competent authorities of that Party determine, in conformity with the procedures referred to in Article 4 (Investigation), that the safeguard measure continues to be necessary to prevent or remedy serious injury and to facilitate adjustment and that there is evidence that the industry is adjusting; or
- for a period exceeding three years, including any extension.
- A safeguard measure shall not be applied against an originating good of a Party which is an ASEAN Member State, as long as its share of imports of the good concerned in the importing Party does not exceed three per cent of the total imports from the other Parties, provided that those Parties with less than three per cent import share collectively account for not more than nine per cent of total imports of the good concerned from the other Parties.
- Where the expected duration of the safeguard measure is over one year, the importing Party shall ensure that the safeguard measure is progressively liberalised at regular intervals during the period of application.
- When a Party terminates a safeguard measure on a good, the rate of customs duty for that good shall be no higher than the rate that, according to the Party’s schedule of tariff commitments in Annex 1 (Schedules of Tariff Commitments), would have been in effect as if the safeguard measure had never been applied.
- Regardless of its duration or whether it has been subject to extension, a safeguard measure on a good shall terminate following the end of the transitional safeguard period for such good.
- No safeguard measure shall be applied again to the import of a particular originating good which has been subject to such a safeguard measure, for a period of time equal to the duration of the previous safeguard measure, or two years, whichever is longer.
- A Party shall not apply a safeguard measure to an originating good imported up to the limit of quota quantities granted under tariff rate quotas applied in accordance with its schedule of tariff commitments in Annex 1 (Schedules of Tariff Commitments).
Provisional Safeguard Measures
- In critical circumstances, where delay would cause damage which would be difficult to repair, a Party may take a provisional measure, pursuant to a preliminary determination that there is clear evidence that increased imports of an originating good from another Party or Parties have caused or are threatening to cause serious injury to a domestic industry.
- The duration of such a provisional measure shall not exceed 200 days, during which time the relevant requirements of Article 2 (Definitions), Article 3 (Imposition of a Safeguard Measure), Article 4 (Investigation), Article 5 (Notification) and Article 6 (Scope and Duration of Transitional Safeguard Measures) shall be met. The duration of any provisional measure shall be counted as part of the initial period and any extension as referred to in Article 6 (Scope and Duration of Transitional Safeguard Measures).
- The customs duty imposed as a result of the provisional measure shall be refunded if the subsequent investigation referred to in Article 4 (Investigation) does not determine that increased imports of the originating good have caused or threatened to cause serious injury to a domestic industry.
- The Party proposing to apply a safeguard measure shall, in consultation with the exporting Party or Parties who would be affected by such a measure, provide to that Party or Parties mutually agreed adequate means of trade compensation in the form of substantially equivalent level of concessions or other obligations to that existing under this Agreement between the Party applying the safeguard measure and the exporting Party or Parties who would be affected by such a measure.
- In seeking compensation under Paragraph 1 for a safeguard measure, if the Parties mutually agree, they may hold consultations in the Goods Committee established pursuant to Article 11 (Committee on Trade in Goods) of Chapter 2 (Trade in Goods) to determine the substantially equivalent level of concessions to that existing under this Agreement between the Party taking the safeguard measure and the exporting Party or Parties who would be affected by such a measure prior to any suspension of equivalent concessions. Any proceedings arising from such consultations shall be completed within 30 days from the date on which the safeguard measure was applied.
- If no agreement on the compensation is reached within the time frame specified in Paragraph 2, the Party or Parties against whose originating good the measure is applied may suspend the application of substantially equivalent concessions to the trade of the Party applying the safeguard measure. The Party or Parties may suspend the concessions only for the minimum period necessary to achieve the substantially equivalent effects and only while the safeguard measure is maintained. The right of suspension provided for in this Paragraph shall not be exercised for the first two years that a safeguard measure is in effect, provided that the safeguard measure has been applied as a result of an absolute increase in imports and that such a safeguard measure conforms to this Chapter.
- A Party shall notify the other Parties in writing at least 30 days before suspending concessions under Paragraph 3.
- The obligation to provide compensation under Paragraph 1 and the right to suspend substantially equivalent concessions under Paragraph 3 shall terminate on the termination of the safeguard measure.
Relationship to the WTO Agreement
- Each Party retains its rights and obligations under Article XIX of GATT 1994, the Safeguards Agreement and Article 5 of the Agreement on Agriculture. This Agreement does not confer any additional rights or obligations on the Parties with regard to global safeguard measures.
- A Party shall not apply a safeguard measure or provisional measure, as provided in Article 6 (Scope and Duration of Transitional Safeguard Measures) or Article 7 (Provisional Safeguard Measures) on a good that is subject to a measure that the Party has applied pursuant to Article XIX of GATT 1994 and the Safeguards Agreement, the Agreement on Agriculture or any other relevant provisions in the WTO Agreement, nor shall a Party continue to maintain a safeguard measure or provisional measure on a good that becomes subject to a measure that the Party applies pursuant to Article XIX of GATT 1994 and the Safeguards Agreement, the Agreement on Agriculture or any other relevant provisions in the WTO Agreement.
- A Party considering the imposition of a global safeguard measure on an originating good of another Party or Parties shall initiate consultations with that Party or Parties as far in advance of taking such measure as practicable.
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