- Volume 8 Issue 4
This paper analyse current interpretation of the "causal link" that in particular, focuses principally on the so-called "non-attribution" requirement of Article 4.2(b) of the Safeguards Agreement. The safeguard measures are justified as a temporary economic adjustment to harm that is caused by an increase in imports. The problem with this justification is that there are other kinds of economic forces that may injure domestic industries, such as changes in consumer tastes, government spending or a lack thereof, and economic downturns. These problems do not justify government-imposed remedies. When factors therefore other than increased imports are causing injury to the domestic industry at the same time, such injury shall not be attributed to increased imports. The Appellate Body stressed that a contribution of third-party imports to the existence of serious injury must be sufficiently clear as to establish the existence of the causal link required, it found that Article 4.2(b) does not suggest that increased imports be the sole cause of the serious injury, or that other factors causing injury must be excluded from the determination of serious injury. The interest in separation is to ensure that a measure is not applied to remedy harm not caused by imports, but this basic point assumes that the harm is distinguishable in the first place. It also assumes that the safeguard is designed to respond to harm caused by imports. In fact safeguards were never intended to respond to this kind of unfair trade, but rather to provide whatever emergency relief might assist an ailing domestic industry if imports happened to be a part of that injury. The Appellate Body's insistence in breaking cause and effect down to minutia in the non-attribution analysis seems to be so overly intricate that it conflicts with it's broader focus on evaluating factors that effect harm on the industry as a whole.
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