The Agreement on Trade-Related Investment Measures (TRIMs) are rules that apply to the domestic regulations a country applies to foreign investors, often as part of an industrial policy. The agreement, concluded in 1994, was negotiated under the WTO’s predecessor, the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), and came into force in 1995. The agreement was agreed upon by all members of the World Trade Organization. Trade-Related Investment Measures is one of the four principal legal agreements of the WTO trade treaty.
It states that WTO members may not apply any measure that discriminates against foreign products or that leads to quantitative restrictions, both of which violate basic WTO principles. A list of prohibited TRIMS, such as local content requirements, is part of the Agreement. The TRIMS Committee monitors the operation and implementation of the Agreement and allows members the opportunity to consult on any relevant matters.
TRIMs are rules that restrict preference of domestic firms and thereby enable international firms to operate more easily within foreign markets. Policies such as local content requirements and trade balancing rules that have traditionally been used to both promote the interests of domestic industries and combat restrictive business practices are now banned.
As an agreement that is based on existing GATT disciplines on trade in goods, the Agreement is not concerned with the regulation of foreign investment.