GENERAL AGREEMENT ON TARIFFS AND TRADE (GATT)
PUNTA DEL ESTE DECLARATION
Ministerial Declaration of 20 September 1986
Ministers, meeting on the occasion of the Special Session of the CONTRACTING
PARTIES at Punta del Este, have decided to launch Multilateral Trade Negotiations
(The Uruguay Round). To this end, they have adopted the following Declaration.
The Multilateral Trade negotiations will be open to the participation of
countries as indicated in Parts I and II of this Declaration. A Trade Negotiations
Committee is established to carry out the negotiations. The Trade Negotiations
Committee shall hold its first meeting not later than 31 October 1986.
It shall meet as appropriate at Ministerial level. The Multilateral Trade
Negotiations will be concluded within four years.
NEGOTIATIONS ON TRADE IN GOODS
The CONTRACTING PARTIES meeting at Ministerial level,
Determined to halt and reverse protectionism and to remove distortions
Determined also to preserve the basic principles and to further
the objectives of the GATT;
Determined also to develop a more open, viable and durable multilateral
Convinced that such action would promote growth and development;
Mindful of the negative effects of prolonged financial and monetary
instability in the world economy, the indebtedness of a large number of
less developed contracting parties, and considering the linkage between
trade, money, finance and development;
Decide to enter into Multilateral Trade Negotiations on trade
in goods within the framework and under the aegis of the General Agreement
on Tariffs and Trade.
Negotiations shall aim to:
(i) bring about further liberalization and expansion of world trade
to the benefit of all countries, especially a less-developed contracting
parties, including the improvement of access to markets by the reduction
and elimination of tariffs, quantitative restrictions and other non-tariff
measures and obstacles;
(ii) strengthen the role of GATT, improve the multilateral trading system
based on the principles and rules of the GATT and bring about a wider coverage
of world trade under agreed, effective and enforceable multilateral disciplines;
(iii) increase the responsiveness of the GATT system to the evolving
international economic environment, through facilitating necessary structural
adjustment, enhancing the relationship of the GATT with the relevant international
organizations and taking account of changes in trade patterns and prospects,
including the growing importance of trade in high technology products,
serious difficulties in commodity markets and the importance of an improved
trading environment providing, inter alia, for the ability of indebted
countries to meet their financial obligations;
(iv) foster concurrent cooperative action at the national and international
levels to strengthen the inter-relationship between trade policies and
other economic policies affecting growth and development, and to contribute
towards continued, effective and determined efforts to improve the functioning
of the international monetary system and the flow of financial and real
investment resources to developing countries.
B. General Principles Governing Negotiations
(i) Negotiations shall be conducted in a transparent manner, and consistent
with the objectives and commitments agreed in this Declaration and with
the principles of the General Agreement in order to ensure mutual advantage
and increased benefits to all participants.
(ii) The launching, the conduct and the implementation of the outcome
of the negotiations shall be treated as parts of a single undertaking.
However, agreements reached at an early stage may be implemented on a provisional
or a definitive basis by agreement prior to the formal conclusion of the
negotiations. Early agreements shall be taken into account in assessing
the overall balance of the negotiations.
(iii) Balanced concessions should be sought within broad trading areas
and subjects to be negotiated in order to avoid unwarranted cross-sectoral
(iv) The CONTRACTING PARTIES agree that the principle of differential
and more favorable treatment embodied in Part IV and other relevant provisions
of the General Agreement and in the Decision of the CONTRACTING PARTIES
of 28 November 1979 on Differential and More Favourable Treatment, Reciprocity
and Fuller Participation of Developing Countries applies to the negotiations.
In the implementation of standstill and rollback, particular care should
be given to avoiding disruptive effects on the trade of less-developed
(v) The developed countries do not expect reciprocity for commitments
made by them in trade negotiations to reduce or remove tariffs and other
barriers to the trade of developing countries, i.e. the developed countries
do not expect the developing countries, in the course of trade negotiations,
to make contributions which are inconsistent with their individual development,
financial and trade needs. Developed contracting parties shall therefore
not seek, neither shall less-developed contracting parties be required
to make, concessions that are inconsistent with the latter's development,
financial and trade needs.
(vi) Less-developed contracting parties expect that their capacity to
make contributions or negotiated concession or take other mutually agreed
action under the provisions and procedures of the General Agreement would
improve with the progressive development of their economies and improvement
in their trade situation and they would accordingly expect to participate
more fully in the framework of rights and obligations under the General
(vii) Special attention shall be given to the particular situation and
problems of the least-developed countries and to the need to encourage
positive measures to facilitate expansion of their trading opportunities.
Expeditious implementation of the relevant provisions of the 1982 Ministerial
Declaration concerning the least-developed countries shall also be given
C. Standstill and Rollback
Commencing immediately and continuing until the formal completion of
the negotiations, each participant agrees to apply the following commitments:
(i) not to take any trade restrictive or distorting measure inconsistent
with the provisions of the General Agreement or the Instruments negotiated
within the framework of GATT or under its auspices;
(ii) not to take any trade restrictive or distorting measure in the
legitimate exercise of its GATT rights, that would go beyond that which
is necessary to remedy specific situations, as provided for in the General
Agreement and the Instruments referred to in (i) above;
(iii) not to take any trade measures in such a manner as to improve
its negotiating positions.
(i) that all trade restrictive or distorting measures inconsistent with
the provisions of the General Agreement or Instruments negotiated within
the framework of GATT or under its auspices, shall be phased out or brought
into conformity within an agreed timeframe not later than by the date of
the formal completion of the negotiations, taking into account multilateral
agreements, undertakings and understandings, including strengthened rules
and disciplines, reached in pursuance of the Objectives of the Negotiations;
(ii) there shall be progressive implementation of this commitment on
an equitable basis in consultations among participants concerned, including
all affected participants. This commitment shall take account of the concerns
expressed by any participant about measures directly affecting its trade
(iii) there shall be no GATT concessions requested for the elimination
of these measures.
Surveillance of standstill and rollback
Each participant agrees that the implementation of these commitments
on standstill and rollback shall be subject to multilateral surveillance
so as to ensure that these commitments are being met. The Trade Negotiations
Committee will decide on the appropriate mechanisms to carry out the surveillance,
including periodic reviews and evaluations. Any participant may bring to
the attention of the appropriate surveillance mechanism any actions or
omissions it believes to be relevant to the fulfillment of these commitments.
These notifications should be addressed to the GATT secretariat which may
also provide further relevant information.
D. Subjects for Negotiation
Negotiations shall aim, by appropriate methods, to reduce or, as appropriate,
eliminate tariffs including the reduction or elimination of high tariffs
and tariff escalation. Emphasis shall be given to the expansion of the
scope of tariff concessions among all participants.
Negotiations shall aim to reduce or eliminate non-tariff measures, including
quantitative restrictions, without prejudice to any action to be taken
in fulfillment of the rollback commitments.
Negotiations shall aim at the fullest liberalization of trade in tropical
products, including in their processed and semi-processed forms and shall
cover both tariff and all non-tariff measures affecting trade in these
The CONTRACTING PARTIES recognize the importance of trade in tropical
products to a large number of less developed contracting parties and agree
that negotiations in this area shall receive special attention, including
the timing of the negotiations and the implementation of the results as
provided for in B(ii).
Natural resource-based products
Negotiations shall aim to achieve the fullest liberalization of trade
in natural resource-based products, including in their processed and semi-processed
forms. The negotiations shall aim to reduce or eliminate tariff and non-tariff
measures, including tariff escalation.
Textiles and clothing
Negotiations in the area of textiles and clothing shall aim to formulate
modalities that would permit the eventual integration of this sector into
GATT on the basis of strengthened GATT rules and disciplines, thereby also
contributing to the objective of further liberalization of trade.
The CONTRACTING PARTIES agree that there is an urgent need to bring
more discipline and predictability to world agricultural trade by correcting
and preventing restrictions and distortions including those related to
structural surpluses so as to reduce the uncertainty, imbalances and instability
in world agricultural markets.
Negotiations shall aim to achieve greater liberalization of trade in
agriculture and bring all measures affecting import access and export competition
under strengthened and more operationally effective GATT rules and disciplines,
taking into account the general principles governing the negotiations by:
(i) improving market access through, inter alia, the reduction of import
(ii) improving the competitive environment by increasing discipline
on the use of all direct and indirect subsidies and other measures affecting
directly or indirectly agricultural trade, including the phased reduction
of their negative effects and dealing with their causes;
(iii) minimizing the adverse effects that sanitary and phytosanitary
regulations and barriers can have on trade in agriculture, taking into
account the relevant international agreements.
In order to achieve the above objectives, the negotiating group having
primary responsibility for all aspects of agriculture will use the Recommendations
adopted by the CONTRACTING PARTIES at their Fortieth Session, which were
developed in accordance with the GATT 1982 Ministerial Work Program, and
take account of the approaches suggested in the work of the Committee on
Trade in Agriculture without prejudice to other alternatives that might
achieve the objectives of the negotiations.
Participants shall review existing GATT Articles, provisions and disciplines
as requested by interested contracting parties, and, as appropriate, undertake
(i) A comprehensive agreement on safeguards is of particular importance
to the strengthening of the GATT system and to progress in the Multilateral
(ii) The agreement on safeguards;
- shall be based on the basic principles of the General Agreement;
- shall contain, inter alia, the following elements: transparency, coverage,
objective criteria for action including the concept of serious injury or
threat thereof, temporary nature, degressivity and structural adjustment,
compensation and retaliation, notification, consultation, multilateral
surveillance and dispute settlement; and
- shall clarify and reinforce the disciplines of the General Agreement
and should apply to all contracting parties.
MTN Agreements and Arrangements
Negotiations shall aim to improve, clarify, or expand, as appropriate,
Agreements and Arrangements negotiated in the Tokyo Round of Multilateral
Subsidies and countervailing measures
Negotiations on subsidies and countervailing measures shall be based
on a review of Articles VI and XVI and the MTN Agreement on subsidies and
countervailing measures with the objective of improving GATT disciplines
relating to all subsidies and countervailing measures that affect international
trade. A negotiating group will be established to deal with these issues.
In order to ensure prompt and effective resolution of disputes to the
benefit of all contracting parties, negotiations shall aim to improve and
strengthen the rules and the procedures of the dispute settlement process,
while recognizing the contribution that would be made by more effective
and enforceable GATT rules and disciplines. Negotiations shall include
the development of adequate arrangements for overseeing and monitoring
of the procedures that would facilitate compliance with adopted recommendations.
Trade-related aspects of intellectual property rights, including
trade in counterfeit goods
In order to reduce the distortions and impediments to international
trade, and taking into account the need to promote effective and adequate
protection of intellectual property rights, and to ensure that measures
and procedures to enforce intellectual property rights do not themselves
become barriers to legitimate trade, the negotiations shall aim to clarify
GATT provisions and elaborate as appropriate new rules and disciplines.
Negotiations shall aim to develop a multilateral framework of principles,
rules and disciplines dealing with international trade in counterfeit goods,
taking into account work already undertaken in the GATT.
These negotiations shall be without prejudice to other complementary
initiatives that may be taken in the World Intellectual Property Organization
and elsewhere to deal with these matters.
Trade-Related investment measures
Following an examination of the operation of GATT Articles related to
the trade restrictive and distorting effects of investment measures, negotiations
should elaborate, as appropriate, further provisions that may be necessary
to avoid such adverse effects on trade.
E. Functioning of the GATT System
Negotiations shall aim to develop understandings and arrangements:
(i) to enhance the surveillance in the GATT to enable regular monitoring
of trade policies and practices of contracting parties and their impact
on the functioning of the multilateral trading system:
(ii) to improve the overall effectiveness and decision-making of the
GATT as an institution, including, inter alia, through involvement of Ministers;
(iii) to increase the contribution of the GATT to achieving greater
coherence in global economic policy-making through strengthening its relationship
with other international organizations responsible for monetary and financial
(a) Negotiations will be open to:
(i) all contracting parties,
(ii) countries having acceded provisionally,
(iii) countries applying the GATT on a de facto basis having announced
not later than 30 April 1987, their intention to accede to the GATT and
to participate in the negotiations.
(iv) countries that have already informed the CONTRACTING PARTIES, at
a regular meeting of the Council of Representatives, of their intention
to negotiate the terms of their membership as a contracting party, and
(v) developing countries that have, by 30 April 1987, initiated procedures
for accession to the GATT, with the intention of negotiating the terms
of their accession during the course of the negotiations.
(b) Participation in negotiations relating to the amendment or application
of GATT provisions or the negotiation of new provisions will, however,
be open only to contracting parties.
G. Organization of the Negotiations
A Group of Negotiations on Goods (GNG) is established to carry out the
programme of negotiations contained in this Part of the Declaration. The
GNG shall, inter alia:
(i) elaborate and put into effect detailed trade negotiating plans prior
to 19 December 1986;
(ii) designate the appropriate mechanisms for surveillance of commitments
to standstill and rollback;
(iii) establish negotiating groups as required. Because of the interrelationship
of some issues and taking fully into account the general principles governing
the negotiations as stated in B(iii) above it is recognized that aspects
of one issue may be discussed in more than one negotiating group. Therefore
each negotiating group should as required take into account relevant aspects
emerging in other groups;
(iv) also decide upon inclusion of additional subject matters in the
(v) co-ordinate the work of the negotiating groups and supervise the
progress of the negotiations. As a guideline not more than two negotiating
groups should meet at the same time;
(vi) the GNG shall report to the Trade Negotiations Committee.
In order to ensure effective application of differential and more favourable
treatment the GNG shall, before the formal completion of the negotiations,
conduct an evaluation of the results attained therein in terms of the Objectives
and the General Principles Governing Negotiations as set out in the Declaration,
taking into account all issues of interest to less-developed contracting
NEGOTIATIONS ON TRADE IN SERVICES
Ministers also decide, as part of the Multilateral Trade Negotiations,
to launch negotiations on trade in services.
Negotiations in this area shall aim to establish a multilateral framework
of principles and rules for trade in services, including elaboration of
possible disciples for individual sectors, with a view to expansion of
such trade under conditions of transparency and progressive liberalization
and as a means of promoting economic growth of all trading partners and
the development of developing countries. Such framework shall respect the
policy objectives of national laws and regulations applying to services
and shall take into account the work of relevant international organizations.
GATT procedures and practices shall apply to these negotiations. A Group
of Negotiations on Services is established to deal with these matters.
Participation in the negotiations under this Part of the Declaration will
be open to the same countries as under Part I. GATT secretariat support
will be provided, with technical support from other organizations as decided
by the Group of Negotiations on Services.
The Group of Negotiations on Services shall report to the Trade Negotiations
IMPLEMENTATION OF RESULTS UNDER PARTS I AND II
When the results of the Multilateral Trade Negotiations in all areas
have been established, Ministers meeting also on the occasion of a Special
Session of CONTRACTING PARTIES shall decide regarding the international
implementation of the respective results.