The agreement consists of fourteen articles and an annex. As a general rule, it consists of four main elements: (1) general provisions (Articles 1 and 2); 2. rules on the application by members of new safeguards (i.e. rules on the application of new safeguards (i.e. rules on the application of new safeguards by members (i.e. measures applied after the WTO agreement comes into force (Articles 3-9); (3) rules on existing measures applied before the WTO came into force (Articles 10 and 11); and (4) multilateral surveillance and institutions (Articles 12-14). The repeated application of protection measures for a particular product is limited by the agreement. As a general rule, a safeguard clause can only be re-applied to a product after the expiry of a period equal to the duration of the original safeguard clause, as long as the non-request period is at least two years. When applying a safeguard measure, the member must maintain a substantially equivalent level of concessions and other obligations to the exporting members concerned. In this regard, appropriate means of compensation can be agreed with the members concerned. In the absence of such an agreement, the exporting members concerned may individually suspend substantially equivalent concessions and other obligations.

The latter right cannot be exercised during the first three years of a safeguard measure if the measure is taken on the basis of an absolute increase in imports and is in line with the provisions of the agreement by other means. The SG agreement, which expressly applies to all members in the same way, aims to clarify and strengthen GATT disciplines, including those of Article XIX; 2) restore multilateral control over measures to safeguard and eliminate measures beyond this control; and (3) to promote the structural adjustment of industries affected by increased imports, thereby strengthening competition in international markets. For example, the „specific safeguard measures” in Article 5 of the WTO Agreement on Agriculture and the „transitional guarantees” under Article 6 of the WTO Agreement on Textiles and Textiles apply only to agricultural or textile products. See chapters 6 and 9 of this book. The Secretary-General`s enterprise agreement was widely negotiated due to the increasing application by gaTT contracting parties of a large number of so-called „shadow zones” measures (voluntary bilateral export restrictions, ordered marketing agreements and similar measures) to limit imports of certain products. These measures were not imposed under Article XIX and are therefore not subject to the multilateral discipline of the GATT and the legality of these measures under the GATT was questionable.