The new safeguards can only be implemented after an investigation by the relevant authorities in accordance with the previously published procedures. Although the agreement does not include detailed procedural requirements, it does require appropriate public disclosure of the investigation and that of interested parties (importers, exporters, manufacturers, etc.) There is an opportunity to present their views and to react to the views of others. Whether or not a protective measure is in the public interest is a matter on which the opinion must be gathered. The competent authorities are required to publish a report in which they set out and explain their conclusions on all relevant issues, including evidence of the relevance of the factors examined. The agreement also contains specific rules for the handling of confidential information in the context of an investigation. Existing grey areas, which were in force at the time of the WTO`s entry into force, should be aligned with the Agreement on the Secretary-General or expire in accordance with the timetables that will be submitted to the Committee of Secretaries-General within four years of the WTO`s entry into force (i.e. until 31 December 1998) before 30 June 1995. Although all members were entitled to a waiver of a single specific measure, under which they would have had the necessary departure until 31 December 1999, no member other than the EC (whose only exception is in the annex of the agreement itself) exercised this option. Any WTO member state that either initiates an investigation or carries out a safeguard measure must inform the Safeguarding Committee of the World Trade Organization of its measures. The United States, which is a member of this commission, is therefore aware of all possible safeguards. The Committee monitors and reports on the implementation of the safeguards agreement and makes recommendations to improve it.
Specific provisions limit the reintroduction of protection measures to a particular product. As a general rule, a safeguard clause can only be re-applied to a product after the expiration of a period equal to the original safeguard measure, provided that the non-request period is normally at least two years. However, if a new protection measure has a duration of 180 days or less, it can be applied as long as one year has elapsed since the date of the introduction of the original protection measure and in the five years immediately preceding the introduction of the new protection measure, the product has not been subject to more than two protective measures (see special and differentiated treatment). The initial time to file applications, plus possible extensions, may not normally exceed eight years.