小寺 彰 (ファカルティフェロー) ／KITAMURA Tomofumi
Bilateral and regional safeguard mechanisms in free trade agreements (FTAs) address only the effects of trade liberalization initiatives under FTAs, and thus, in contrast with other trade remedies such as antidumping, they enable the examination of their nature and preferability to free trade independently. We investigated selected bilateral and regional safeguard mechanisms according to nine different indicators, which represent the "conditions for invocation," "conditions of application," and "procedural conditions" for the safeguard measures. While the safeguard mechanisms reveal specific characteristics according to their political and economic backgrounds, their nature is approximately summarized in the following order of preferability: (1) No Safeguard Type, (2) WTO Type, (3) NAFTA Type, (4) GATT Type, and (5) European Type. Importantly, however, in the overall understanding of the significance of each safeguard mechanism, one needs to be reminded of their trade liberalization ("safety valve") functions. In that sense, any final remarks on the subject can come only after assessing the level of trade liberalization facilitated by the existence of the mechanisms.