Business Guide to the World Trading System

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As world trade becomes more and more global, the rules of the world trading system are being continuously refined. For a better participation in the world trading system, it has become necessary to understand clearly the business implications of these rules. The Business Guide to the World Trading System starts with an overview of the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) legal system and the benefits that the business community can derive from it. The Guide explains the role of the WTO as a forum for negotiations, presents the rules applicable to trade in goods; reviews the main features of the rules of the General Agreement on Trade in Services; explains the rules applicable to government procurement and State trading; describes the provisions of the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights; and looks at the new subject areas on which analytical work is being carried out to determine whether negotiations within the WTO on the development of new rules to cover their trade-related aspects would be desirable.

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Import licensing procedures

National import licensing procedures can adversely affect the flow of imports, particularly if these procedures are not transparent or if they unnecessarily delay the issue of licences. The Agreement on Import Licensing Procedures divides licences into two categories: automatic and non-automatic. Automatic licences should be issued within a maximum period of 10 working days after the receipt of applications. Non-automatic licences, which are generally used to administer quantitative restrictions, must be granted within a maximum period of 30 days from receipt of application where licences are issued on a first-come first-served basis and 60 days if all applications are considered simultaneously.

English Spanish, French

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