The textile and clothing agreement provides for the permanent removal of restrictions on textiles and clothing after a transitional period of ten years. The MfA restrictions will expire in four phases, starting with the date the WTO comes into force. Alongside this integration process, there is a programme that provides for a gradual liberalisation of quotas imposed under the AMF, with an accelerated exit for small exporters. The agreement also provides for a temporary protection mechanism in the event of an increase in imports, applicable under certain conditions to any product that is not yet included in the GATT and which is not yet in the rest, with the least developed countries and small suppliers being treated more favourably. The creation of the World Trade Organization was not planned at the beginning of the negotiations in the 1986 Uruguay Round, but the discussions proposed it as the necessary institutional framework for the implementation of the final agreements. As this manual points out, the agreements reached at the end of the Uruguay Round were a major step forward in efforts to improve the regulation of international trade. Once negotiations on products (including agricultural products) and services are completed, the working group report, draft decision and membership protocol will be presented to the General Council. Following the adoption of the working group report and the adoption of the draft decision and accession protocol, the decision will be put to a vote and, if adopted by a two-thirds majority, will come into force after adoption by the requesting government. Agreements on technical barriers to trade, subsidies and countervailing measures, anti-dumping measures, import certificates and tariff assessment are broader versions of the Tokyo Round agreements on these issues, while new agreements deal with the application of sanitary and plant health measures, safeguards, due diligence and rules of origin.
The Rules of Origin Agreement requires that guidelines be agreed to for their use within three years. This shows the most significant change since the WTO, unlike the previous process, imposes all the different agreements and decisions under the GATT. In the first phase of accession procedures, the applicant government is required to submit to the WTO a memorandum covering all aspects of its trade and economic policy that are important to WTO agreements. This will be the basis for an in-depth review within a working group. In the short term, the WTO remains the “shell” on which previous GATT agreements are based, but it will more than likely form in the coming years with its own organizational niche in the multilateral trading system.