The WTO Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures explained: how to ensure a fair trading environment for all

16.04.2021 364

Governments can use subsidies for a number of reasons, but regardless of whether they are intended to correct market failures or to address policy priorities of the government involved, these subsidies could have distortive effect for international markets. The WTO Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures (SCM Agreement) disciplines the use of the subsidies and regulates the actions countries can take to counteract their effects.

To support building an understanding on subsidies disciplines, a series of workshops dedicated to the existing rules under the SCM Agreement was organized last February for Uzbekistan’s policymakers and negotiators.

Under the umbrella of the European Union’s project ‘Facilitating the process of Uzbekistan's accession to the WTO’ implemented by ITC, participants received key information on the main rules and regulations under the SCM Agreement during this 3-day workshop, in particular on:

  • the different categories of subsidies
  • the mandatory notification requirements
  • how to calculate the subsidies’ exact amount
  • customs duties
  • countervailing measures
  • WTO commitments on industrial subsidies for a selected list of recently acceded countries

A number of practical tasks based on real case studies and topic-related quizzes were also offered to the participants, as to ensure a practical understanding of these rules and regulations beyond the theory.

"I would like to thank ITC for such an informative workshop on subsidies disciplines under the WTO SCM Agreement; it was well-structured and delivered in a very effective way with plenty of practical examples and cases of good practice. I feel that the course increased my competency in this area, which will be extremely beneficial for my work going forward ", said Lolita Irgasheva, Chief Specialist at the Ministry of Economic Development and Poverty Reduction of Uzbekistan.

Furthermore, the experts delivering the workshop also stressed out the fact that when Uzbekistan becomes a WTO Member, it will get access to an array of legal instruments available under the SCM Agreement to defend the interests of its exporters against unfair practices. This could be achieved through the use of countervailing duty proceedings or by the recourse to the Dispute Settlement mechanism.

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