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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Agreement on textiles and clothing

The basic aim of the Agreement on Textiles and Clothing (ATC) is to secure the removal of restrictions currently applied by some developed countries to imports of textiles and clothing. To this end the Agreement sets out procedures for integrating the trade in textiles and clothing fully into the GATT system by requiring countries to remove the restrictions in four stages over a period of 10 years ending on 1 January 2005. The flexibility available under the integration procedures has, however, enabled countries to remove restrictions in the first two stages only on a limited number of products. The first major impact of the integration programme is therefore expected when the third-stage integration takes place (on 1 January 2002); the bulk of the restrictions will be withdrawn in the last phase, when the transition period ends and the Agreement expires.

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