Plurilateral Agreements


If you wish to get more information about World Trade Organization, just click WTO. Its URL is: http://www.wto.org. As WTO updates its site periodically, some of these documents are not readily accessible. To assist students, however, some items are copied below. These documents originated in the WTO websites, and Kwan Choi is NOT the author.

For the most part, all WTO members subscribe to all WTO agreements. There remain, however, four agreements, originally negotiated in the Tokyo Round, which have a narrower group of signatories and are known, therefore, as "plurilateral agreements". All other Tokyo Round agreements became multilateral obligations when the World Trade Organization was established in 1995.


Fair trade in civil aircraft

Creating open competition in govrnment procurement

Special arrangement for the dairy sector

Assisting trade in meat


Fair trade in civil aircraft

The Agreement on Trade in Civil Aircraft entered into force on 1 January 1980. Twenty- one countries abide by the agreement which eliminates import duties on all aircraft, other than military aircraft, as well as on all other products covered by the agreement - notably, civil aircraft engines and their parts and components, all components and sub-assemblies of civil aircraft as well as flight simulators and their parts and components. It contains disciplines on government-directed procurement of civil aircraft and inducements to purchase, as well as on government financial support for the civil aircraft sector.


Creating open competition in government procurement

In most countries the government and the agencies it controls are, together, the biggest purchasers of goods of all kinds, ranging from basic commodities to high-technology equipment. At the same time, the political pressure to favour domestic over foreign suppliers can be very strong. The purpose of the agreement, which was first negotiated during the Tokyo Round and entered into force on 1 January 1981, is to open up as much of this business as possible to international competition. It is designed to make laws, regulations, procedures and practices regarding government procurement more transparent and to ensure they do not protect domestic products or suppliers, or discriminate against foreign products or suppliers.

The agreement has 9 members with the European Communities counting as one. It has two elements - general rules and obligations, and schedules of national entities in each member country whose procurement is subject to the agreement. A large part of the general rules and obligations concern national tendering procedures.

Substantial further liberalization for the sector was secured during the Uruguay Round with a new agreement opening up to international competition many national and local government entities whose collective purchases are worth several hundred billion dollars each year. The agreement extended coverage to services, including construction services; procurement at the sub-central level (for example: states, provinces, departments and prefectures); and procurement by public utilities. The new agreement expands by some ten-fold the previous coverage of the agreement and will take effect on 1 January 1996.

It also reinforces rules guaranteeing fair and non-discriminatory conditions of international competition. For example, governments will be required to put in place domestic procedures by which aggrieved private bidders can challenge procurement decisions and obtain redress in the event such decisions are inconsistent with the agreement.

The agreement applies to contracts which are above certain thresholds in value. In the case of central government purchases of goods and services, the threshold is SDR 130,000 (some $182,000). For purchasers of goods and services by sub-central government entities the threshold varies but is generally in the region of SDR 200,000. For utilities, thresholds for goods and services is generally in the area of SDR 400,000 and for construction contracts, in general the threshold value is SDR 500,000.


Special arrangement for the dairy sector

The International Dairy Agreement came into operation on 1 January 1980, as the International Dairy Arrangement, with the objective of expanding and liberalizing world trade in dairy products, to achieve greater stability in this trade. In the interests of exporters and importers it seeks to avoid surpluses, shortages and undue fluctuations in prices. The agreement, to which there are ... signatories, aims to assist the economic and social advancement of developing countries and to improve international cooperation in the dairy products sector. The agreement, which is overseen by the International Dairy Council, covers all dairy products and lays down minimum export prices for international trade in certain milk powders, milk fat including butter, and certain cheeses.


Assisting trade in meat

As with the Dairy Agreement, the International Bovine Meat Agreement was originally a result of the Tokyo Round and came into force on 1 January 1980. It aims to promote the expansion, liberalization and stability of international trade in meat and livestock as well as to improve international cooperation in this sector. The agreement covers beef and veal, and live cattle. There are 27 signatories (the EC counting as one). An International Meat Council under the WTO evaluates the world supply and demand situation for meat, and provides a forum for regular consultation on all matters affecting international trade in bovine meat, including bilateral and plurilateral commitments on trade in this sector.