Tokyo Round

Tokyo Round

Tokyo Round in Global Commerce Policy

In this regard, a definition of this issue is as follows: the seventh round of GATT multilateral trade negotiations which took place between 1973 and 1979. 102 countries participated in this round. Both from the point of view of participation and the breadth of the negotiating agenda, this was the biggest round up to that time. The Tokyo Round was launched on 14 September 1973 at a Ministerial Meeting in Tokyo, but the negotiations were conducted largely in Geneva. The Ministerial declaration setting out the ambit for the negotiations foresaw work aimed at (a) tariff negotiations using the formula method, (b) reducing or eliminating non-tariff measures, (c) examining the possibility of reducing or eliminating all barriers in selected sectors, (d) examining the adequacy of the multilateral safeguard system, (e) negotiations in agriculture, taking into account the special characteristics and problems in this sector, and (f) treating tropical products as a special and priority sector. Ministers intended that the negotiations should be concluded in 1975. The Tokyo Round negotiations were dominated by events within the United States, the European Economic Community (EEC), Japan and the relations between them. The President did not have any negotiating authority until January 1975 when the Trade Act of 1974 was made into law. This negotiating authority was due to expire on 3 January 1980. The situation was complicated by the fact that 1976 was a presidential election year in the United States. The EEC had expanded its membership to nine on 1 January 1973 and was preoccupied with making the enlarged system work. The entries on trade policy are here. Its internal coordinating system accordingly became much more complex. Japan had achieved its transformation into a first-rate trading power and had become the cause of protectionist pressures in many economies. The various negotiating groups, in which the specialized negotiations would take place, were only established in February 1975. Most were chaired by GATT Secretariat personnel. The developing countries were drawn into the negotiating process much more than during the Kennedy Round. This was the time of heightened developing-country expectations in that it coincided with preparations for the New International Economic Order initiative and the intensification of the North-South dialogue. Much necessary preparatory work of a substantive nature was done between 1973 and early 1977, but no real developments in the negotiations were possible until the new United States administration had formulated its policies and appointed its negotiating team. Negotiations began in earnest in July 1977 following a meeting between the United States and the EEC which ironed out some of their major differences on policy and procedure. The two reached agreement that there should be an accelerated timetable consisting of four phases to be concluded by January 1978. The first phase would consist of a general tariff plan, including a tariff-cutting formula using the Swiss formula as a working hypothesis, and specific directives for the treatment of agriculture. The second phase would cover the tabling of requests for tariff cuts and the removal of non-tariff measures. Phase three would see the tabling of draft texts for the codes on non-tariff measures, and in the fourth phase participants would respond to the requests by tabling offers. By July 1978 a large group of developed countries was able to put forward a “Framework of Understanding” which set out the principal elements they considered necessary for a balanced outcome to the negotiations. The developing countries objected to this package on substantive and procedural grounds. They objected particularly to what they saw as an attempt to leave them at the periphery of the negotiations. The package nevertheless was an important factor in maintaining momentum as agreement emerged to conclude the negotiations by 15 December 1978. The entries on trade policy are here. A major obstacle then turned up in the form of a section of the United States Trade Act which allowed the President to waive a requirement that countervailing duties be imposed on subsidized imports over the four- year period ending on 3 January 1979. The entries on trade policy are here. If the existing waiver lapsed, countervailing duties would become automatic. Congress appeared reluctant to renew the waiver, but it did so once the EEC declared that it could not conclude the negotiations unless the United States first solved its internal problems. This happened in late March 1979, and the Tokyo Round negotiations ended formally on 12 April 1979. The negotiations resulted in average cuts of tariffs by developed countries for industrial products of about 35%, and average tariffs were reduced to about 4.7%, to be phased in over eight years. The Tokyo Round resulted in nine separate agreements (six of which were called “codes”) and four understandings on the aims and operation of the GATT. These agreements and understandings added considerably to GATT law. Most of them were adapted further in the Uruguay Round and incorporated in the formal overall outcome for that round. Little progress was made on systemic issues in trade in agricultural products. There was agreement that negotiations should be continued after the round on the development of a Multilateral Agricultural Framework aimed at avoiding continuing political and commercial confrontations in this highly sensitive sector. The entries on trade policy are here. In reality this was little more than a device enabling the conclusion of the round as a whole and, as many expected, it did not lead anywhere once negotiations resumed. The entries on trade policy are here. Achievements in the negotiations on tropical products were uneven, but reductions in tariffs and non-tariff measures occurred across the full range of these products. No agreement was reached concerning a multilateral safeguard system, but negotiations were continued after the round, though without much success. The entries on trade policy in the Encyclopedia are here. One outcome developing countries saw as particularly important for them was the Enabling Clause. The entries on trade policy are here. It was aimed at promoting an increased participation by developing countries in the global trading system, and it allowed developed GATT members to accord differential treatment in favour of developing countries in the tariff and non-tariff areas. Some claim that one of its unintended effects was to diminish the influence of developing countries in the rule-making activities in the GATT, but this view is strongly contested by others. See also linear tariff cuts, special and differential treatment and Tokyo Round agreements.[1]

Tokyo Roundin the wold Encyclopedia

For an introductory overview on international trade policy, see this entry.


Notes and References

  1. Dictionary of Trade Policy, “Tokyo Round” entry (OAS)

See Also

Hierarchical Display of Tokyo Round

Trade > Tariff policy > Tariff policy > Tariff negotiations

Meaning of Tokyo Round

Overview and more information about Tokyo Round

For a more comprehensive understanding of Tokyo Round, see in the general part of the online platform.[rtbs name=”xxx-xxx”]


Translation of Tokyo Round

Thesaurus of Tokyo Round

Trade > Tariff policy > Tariff policy > Tariff negotiations > Tokyo Round

See also





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