Glossary of terms
Action taken by the importing country, usually in the form of increased duties to offset subsidies given to producers or exporters in the exporting country.
Resolution of conflict arising between governments over the interpretation of trade rules or the actions of one of them relating to trade. This can be through a compromise between opposing claims, and can involve the use of an intermediary. At other times, dispute settlement can be adversarial and rules-based.
When prices and production are higher or lower than levels that would usually exist in a competitive market.
In agriculture, any domestic subsidy or other measure which acts to maintain producer prices at levels above those prevailing in international trade; direct payments to producers, including deficiency payments, and input and marketing cost reduction measures available only for agricultural production.
When goods are exported at a price less than their normal value, generally meaning they are exported for less than they are sold in the domestic market or third-country markets, or at less than production cost.
A levy, tax or impost charged by governments within their entire jurisdiction on production, transactions and ownership of an asset.
Foreign direct investment
Free Trade Agreement(FTA)
A contractual agreement between two or more parties under which they give each other preferential market access. The agreement must apply to substantially all the trade in goods between the two parties and must not erect new barriers to other countries. Modern FTAs typically also cover trade in services, as well as other non-tariff issues such as the recognition of standards, customs cooperation, protection of intellectual property rights and regulation of foreign investment.
Geographical Indications (GI)
Indications which identify a good as originating in a territory of a country, or a region or locality in that territory, where a given quality, reputation or other characteristic of the good is essentially attributable to its geographical origin.
Purchasing of goods and services by governments.
The tariff applicable to a product imported within the limits of a tariff quota.
Non-tangible property that derives from the intellect or mind. Includes patents, copyrights, business methods and industrial methods.
The commitment of capital in the expectation of a return, with the assumption of risk. Investment can include (amongst others) enterprise, equity participation in enterprise (shares, stocks), debt instruments (bonds, debentures), derivatives (futures, options) and intellectual property rights.
Joint Trade Committee/Commission (JTC)
A mechanism usually included in FTAs comprised of officials at a senior level to oversee ongoing implementation and enforcement of an FTA.
Most-favoured-nation treatment: the principle of not discriminating between one’s trading partners by giving each of the trading partners with which it has concluded relevant agreements the best treatment it gives to any of them in a given area. The fundamental point is equality of treatment.
Citizens or permanent residents of a country, as distinct from juridical persons such as companies and organizations.
An approach to determining coverage of products or sectors within an agreement by listing only those which will be excluded from coverage. Unless specified, all other products or sectors are taken as included.
Term used to describe goods which are not agricultural products as defined by the WTO Agreement on Agriculture. As well as a range of industrial products, non-agricultural products include fish and fish products, and forestry and forestry products.
A good which does not satisfy the requirements of an originating good.
Non-Tariff Barriers (NTB)
Measures other than tariffs that restrict trade flows. These include import licensing, prohibitions, voluntary restraint arrangements and variable levies.
Non-Tariff Measures (NTM)
Anything, including non-tariff barriers such as technical barriers to trade (TBT), sanitary and phytosanitary measures (SPS), and safety standards that have an effect on trade flows. These effects are not necessarily negative.
A good that is either wholly obtained or produced within a country, produced in a country wholly from originating materials, or produced in a country partly from originating materials but complies with particular Rules of Origin of the FTA.
The tariff rate applied to products imported in excess of a tariff quota. This is meant to discourage imports above the tariff quota.
Term applied to the gradual introduction of new trade rules or conditions, such as tariff reductions and changes to non-tariff measures.
Term applied to the gradual removal or alteration of trade rules or conditions, such as tariffs and non-tariff measures.
An approach to determining coverage of products or sectors within an agreement by listing only those which will be included in coverage.
Preferential Rules of Origin
A system for deciding whether a product exported from one party to an FTA to another will be considered as having originated from that party, and therefore qualify for preferential treatment.
All of the processes involved in requesting, ordering, auditing, and paying for goods and services.
Rules of origin (ROO)
Laws, regulations and administrative procedures which determine a product’s country of origin for specific purpose. A decision by a customs authority on origin can determine whether a shipment falls within a quota limitation, qualifies for a tariff preference or is affected by an anti-dumping duty. These rules can vary from country to country.
Temporary measures to allow industry to adapt to altered trading circumstances such as elimination of duties or increased competition from importers following the implementation of an FTA. They typically aim to slow imports.
A mechanism available under the WTO Agreement on Agriculture to members who have converted non-tariff measures to tariffs, which allows them to charge extra tariffs on agricultural imports. They provide a safety net for importing countries in the event that there is a surge in imports.
A tariff rate charged as a fixed amount per quantity such as $100 per tonne.
Sanitary and Phytosanitary measures or regulations - implemented by governments to protect human, animal and plant life and health, and to help ensure that food is safe for consumption. These measures must not be applied in a manner which would constitute a means of arbitrary or unjustifiable discrimination.
Financial or in-kind assistance by governments to producers or exporters of commodities, manufacturers and services. They are paid in order to, for example, support inefficient production structures, raise income in one sector, promote regional development, or to develop export markets. There are two general types of subsidies: export and domestic. An export subsidy is a benefit conferred on a firm by the government that is contingent on exports. A domestic subsidy is a benefit not directly linked to exports.
A customs duty levied at the border on goods going from one customs territory (generally a country) to another. It can be either levied either on an ad valorem basis (percentage of value) or on a specific basis (e.g. $7 per 100 kgs.). Tariffs give price advantage to similar locally-produced goods and raise revenues for governments.
Commitment not to increase a rate of duty beyond an agreed level. Once a rate of duty is bound, it may not be raised without compensating the affected parties.
A comprehensive list of the goods which may be imported into a country, and the duties applicable to each product.
Technical barriers to trade (TBT)
Barriers or impediments to trade relating to standards, technical regulations, conformity assessment procedures etc. for a specific market.
Removing obstacles to the movement of goods across borders (e.g. simplification of customs procedures).
A general term for the gradual or complete removal of impediments to trade in goods and services.
- Page last updated: 16 July 2010