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The intent of this dictionary was to produce a broad listing of terms, which are commonly used in trade negotiations and especially within the context of the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) with a view to providing an information tool for the public at large. The dictionary is presented in the four official languages of the FTAA: English, Spanish, Portuguese and French.

The compilation does not attempt to present the entire universe of terms used nor does it seek to prejudge or to affect in any way definitions or approaches currently proposed by any country in any trade negotiation. In fact, many of the definitions included in the publicly-available Draft FTAA Agreement which are still the subject of difficult debates have been excluded from this dictionary. The definitions are based on widely available source material including other trade agreements.

An alphabetical listing of the terms is included to facilitate the use of the dictionary. The terms and their definitions are presented by general negotiating theme found in the FTAA and in other trade negotiations.

An electronic version of this document can be found on the following websites: IADB, OAS, and ECLAC.




Adjustment plan Measures adopted to generate conditions to overcome the lack of competitiveness of a particular industry before the presence of imports. These measures can include, for example, re-structuring of a plant, training of employees, acquisition of new technologies, introduction of more efficient production processes, among others.
Article XIX Article XIX means the article of the GATT Agreement that allows a GATT member to take “safeguard” action to protect a specific domestic industry from an unforeseen increase of imports of any product which is causing, or which is likely to cause, serious injury to the industry.
Causal link Relationship that is established when a cause generates a given effect. See Subsidies, Antidumping and Countervailing Duties, page 40, where this text may have a slightly different meaning.
Compensation Set of trade benefits (normally market access concessions) granted by the importing country imposing a safeguard measure to an affected exporting country. These benefits are given with a view to offsetting the commercial losses incurred by the exporting country. Normally the benefits granted should have a commercial value equivalent to the commercial losses.
Customs Union An international association organized to eliminate customs restrictions on goods exchanged between member nations and to establish a uniform tariff policy toward nonmember nations.
Directly competitive good Directly competitive good means the good which, while not necessarily similar to the one that it is compared with, is essentially equivalent for purposes of trade being put to the same use and being interchangeable with the latter.
Findings of the investigation In the investigation to determine whether increased imports have caused or are threatening to cause serious injury to a domestic industry, the competent authorities shall evaluate all relevant factors of an objective and quantifiable nature having a bearing on the situation of that industry, in particular, the rate and amount of the increase in imports of the product concerned in absolute and relative terms, the share of the domestic market taken by increased imports, changes in the level of sales, production, productivity, capacity utilization, profits and losses, and employment.
Global safeguard measure A safeguard measure imposed under Article XIX of GATT 1994 and the WTO Agreement on Safeguard Measures.
Interested parties Individuals or organizations that may have an interest in the safeguard measure. These may include; for example: the petitioner; other domestic producers; commercial, trade or business associations in which the majority of the members are producers of the good under investigation; foreign producers; exporters; importers; governments of the exporting or producing parties; and consumers or associations representing them.
Like good Includes an identical good and one that, although not the same in all aspects, has similar features and composition, which enables it to perform the same functions and to be commercially interchangeable with the good it is compared with.
Provisional safeguard measure Is a provisional measure, normally a tariff, which is imposed on imports to prevent injury to the domestic industry while the issue is under investigation and before a final decision is reached.
Safeguard measure Border measure, usually of a tariff nature, imposed on a temporary basis on imports of goods that cause or threaten to cause serious injury to a domestic industry that produces like or similar goods. Its objective is to provide time for the affected industry to undergo an adjustment process. It is normally imposed after an investigation in the importing country that seeks to determine whether the serious injury or threat thereof is caused to the industry as a result of sudden imports.
Serious injury Is a significant overall impairment in the position of a domestic industry. Normally, the following factors are examined in order to determine whether the domestic industry has been seriously injured by imports: share of domestic market taken by increased imports, changes in the levels of sales, production, productivity, capacity utilization, profits and losses, and employment.
Specific safeguard mechanism A specific safeguard mechanism is a safeguard mechanism which objective is to offer temporary protection to a specific sector of the domestic production; for example: textiles, agriculture, etc.
Substantial supplier Supplier of a good that exports important quantities of a good on a regular basis. In trade agreements a country may be considered as a substantial supplier if for a specific period of time it has been the territory of origin of a given percentage (for instance 10%) of the total imports of the good subject to a safeguard measure in the importing country.