|Signed||30 October 1947|
|Location||Geneva, Geneva Canton, Switzerland|
The General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) is a legal agreement between many countries, whose overall purpose was to promote international trade by reducing or eliminating trade barriers such as tariffs or quotas. According to its preamble, its purpose was the "substantial reduction of tariffs and other trade barriers and the elimination of preferences, on a reciprocal and mutually advantageous basis."
A treaty is an agreement under international law entered into by actors in international law, namely sovereign states and international organizations. A treaty may also be known as an (international) agreement, protocol, covenant, convention, pact, or exchange of letters, among other terms. Regardless of terminology, all of these forms of agreements are, under international law, equally considered treaties and the rules are the same.
An import quota is a type of trade restriction that sets a physical limit on the quantity of a good that can be imported into a country in a given period of time.
It was first discussed during the United Nations Conference on Trade and Employment and was the outcome of the failure of negotiating governments to create the International Trade Organization (ITO). GATT was signed by 23 nations in Geneva on 30 October 1947, and took effect on 1 January 1948. It remained in effect until the signature by 123 nations in Marrakesh on 14 April 1994, of the Uruguay Round Agreements, which established the World Trade Organization (WTO) on 1 January 1995. The WTO is a successor to GATT, and the original GATT text (GATT 1947) is still in effect under the WTO framework, subject to the modifications of GATT 1994.
The United Nations (UN) is an intergovernmental organization tasked with maintaining international peace and security, developing friendly relations among nations, achieving international co-operation, and being a centre for harmonizing the actions of nations. It was established after World War II, with the aim of preventing future wars, and succeeded the ineffective League of Nations. Its headquarters, which are subject to extraterritoriality, are in Manhattan, New York City, and it has other main offices in Geneva, Nairobi, Vienna and The Hague. The organization is financed by assessed and voluntary contributions from its member states. Its objectives include maintaining international peace and security, protecting human rights, delivering humanitarian aid, promoting sustainable development, and upholding international law. The UN is the largest, most familiar, most internationally represented and most powerful intergovernmental organization in the world. At its founding, the UN had 51 member states; there are now 193.
The International Trade Organization (ITO) was the proposed name for an international institution for the regulation of trade.
The World Trade Organization (WTO) is an intergovernmental organization that is concerned with the regulation of international trade between nations. The WTO officially commenced on 1 January 1995 under the Marrakesh Agreement, signed by 124 nations on 15 April 1994, replacing the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), which commenced in 1948. It is the largest international economic organization in the world.
GATT, and its successor WTO, have successfully reduced tariffs. The average tariff levels for the major GATT participants were about 22% in 1947, but were 5% after the Uruguay Round in 1999.Experts attribute part of these tariff changes to GATT and the WTO.
GATT held a total of nine rounds:
|April 1947||7 months||23||Tariffs||Signing of GATT, 45,000 tariff concessions affecting $10 billion of trade|
|April 1949||5 months||34||Tariffs||Countries exchanged some 5,000 tariff concessions|
|September 1950||8 months||34||Tariffs||Countries exchanged some 8,700 tariff concessions, cutting the 1948 tariff levels by 25%|
|January 1956||5 months||22||Tariffs, admission of Japan||$2.5 billion in tariff reductions|
|September 1960||11 months||45||Tariffs||Tariff concessions worth $4.9 billion of world trade|
|May 1964||37 months||48||Tariffs, anti-dumping||Tariff concessions worth $40 billion of world trade|
|September 1973||74 months||102||Tariffs, non-tariff measures, "framework" agreements||Tariff reductions worth more than $300 billion achieved|
|September 1986||87 months||123||Tariffs, non-tariff measures, rules, services, intellectual property, dispute settlement, textiles, agriculture, creation of WTO, etc.||The round led to the creation of WTO, and extended the range of trade negotiations, leading to major reductions in tariffs (about 40%) and agricultural subsidies, an agreement to allow full access for textiles and clothing from developing countries, and an extension of intellectual property rights.|
|November 2001||?||159||Tariffs, non-tariff measures, agriculture, labor standards, environment, competition, investment, transparency, patents etc.||The round has not yet concluded. Bali Package signed on the 7th December 2013.|
The second round took place in 1949 in Annecy, France. 13 countries took part in the round. The main focus of the talks was more tariff reductions, around 5,000 in total.
Annecy is the largest city of Haute-Savoie department in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region in southeastern France. It lies on the northern tip of Lake Annecy, 35 kilometers (22 mi) south of Geneva.
France, officially the French Republic, is a country whose territory consists of metropolitan France in Western Europe and several overseas regions and territories. The metropolitan area of France extends from the Mediterranean Sea to the English Channel and the North Sea, and from the Rhine to the Atlantic Ocean. It is bordered by Belgium, Luxembourg and Germany to the northeast, Switzerland and Italy to the east, and Andorra and Spain to the south. The overseas territories include French Guiana in South America and several islands in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans. The country's 18 integral regions span a combined area of 643,801 square kilometres (248,573 sq mi) and a total population of 67.3 million. France, a sovereign state, is a unitary semi-presidential republic with its capital in Paris, the country's largest city and main cultural and commercial centre. Other major urban areas include Lyon, Marseille, Toulouse, Bordeaux, Lille and Nice.
The third round occurred in Torquay, England in 1951.Thirty-eight countries took part in the round. 8,700 tariff concessions were made totaling the remaining amount of tariffs to ¾ of the tariffs which were in effect in 1948. The contemporaneous rejection by the U.S. of the Havana Charter signified the establishment of the GATT as a governing world body.
Torquay is a seaside town in Devon, England, part of the unitary authority area of Torbay. It lies 18 miles (29 km) south of the county town of Exeter and 28 miles (45 km) east-north-east of Plymouth, on the north of Tor Bay, adjoining the neighbouring town of Paignton on the west of the bay and across from the fishing port of Brixham.
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to the west and Scotland to the north-northwest. The Irish Sea lies west of England and the Celtic Sea lies to the southwest. England is separated from continental Europe by the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south. The country covers five-eighths of the island of Great Britain, which lies in the North Atlantic, and includes over 100 smaller islands, such as the Isles of Scilly and the Isle of Wight.
The fourth round returned to Geneva in 1955 and lasted until May 1956. Twenty-six countries took part in the round. $2.5 billion in tariffs were eliminated or reduced.
Geneva is the second-most populous city in Switzerland and the most populous city of Romandy, the French-speaking part of Switzerland. Situated where the Rhône exits Lake Geneva, it is the capital of the Republic and Canton of Geneva.
The fifth round occurred once more in Geneva and lasted from 1960-1962. The talks were named after U.S. Treasury Secretary and former Under Secretary of State, Douglas Dillon, who first proposed the talks. Twenty-six countries took part in the round. Along with reducing over $4.9 billion in tariffs, it also yielded discussion relating to the creation of the European Economic Community (EEC).
The sixth round of GATT multilateral trade negotiations, held from 1964 to 1967. It was named after U.S. President John F. Kennedy in recognition of his support for the reformulation of the United States trade agenda, which resulted in the Trade Expansion Act of 1962. This Act gave the President the widest-ever negotiating authority.
As the Dillon Round went through the laborious process of item-by-item tariff negotiations, it became clear, long before the Round ended, that a more comprehensive approach was needed to deal with the emerging challenges resulting from the formation of the European Economic Community (EEC) and EFTA, as well as Europe's re-emergence as a significant international trader more generally.
Japan's high economic growth rate portended the major role it would play later as an exporter, but the focal point of the Kennedy Round always was the United States-EEC relationship. Indeed, there was an influential American view that saw what became the Kennedy Round as the start of a transatlantic partnership that might ultimately lead to a transatlantic economic community.
To an extent, this view was shared in Europe, but the process of European unification created its own stresses under which the Kennedy Round at times became a secondary focus for the EEC. An example of this was the French veto in January 1963, before the round had even started, on membership by the United Kingdom.
Another was the internal crisis of 1965, which ended in the Luxembourg Compromise. Preparations for the new round were immediately overshadowed by the Chicken War, an early sign of the impact variable levies under the Common Agricultural Policy would eventually have. Some participants in the Round had been concerned that the convening of UNCTAD, scheduled for 1964, would result in further complications, but its impact on the actual negotiations was minimal.
In May 1963 Ministers reached agreement on three negotiating objectives for the round:
The working hypothesis for the tariff negotiations was a linear tariff cut of 50% with the smallest number of exceptions. A drawn-out argument developed about the trade effects a uniform linear cut would have on the dispersed rates (low and high tariffs quite far apart) of the United States as compared to the much more concentrated rates of the EEC which also tended to be in the lower held of United States tariff rates.
The EEC accordingly argued for an evening-out or harmonization of peaks and troughs through its cerement, double cart and thirty: ten proposals. Once negotiations had been joined, the lofty working hypothesis was soon undermined. The special-structure countries (Australia, Canada, New Zealand and South Africa), so called because their exports were dominated by raw materials and other primary commodities, negotiated their tariff reductions entirely through the item-by-item method.
In the end, the result was an average 35% reduction in tariffs, except for textiles, chemicals, steel and other sensitive products; plus a 15% to 18% reduction in tariffs for agricultural and food products. In addition, the negotiations on chemicals led to a provisional agreement on the abolition of the American Selling Price (ASP). This was a method of valuing some chemicals used by the noted States for the imposition of import duties which gave domestic manufacturers a much higher level of protection than the tariff schedule indicated.
However, this part of the outcome was disallowed by Congress, and the American Selling Price was not abolished until Congress adopted the results of the Tokyo Round. The results on agriculture overall were poor. The most notable achievement was agreement on a Memorandum of Agreement on Basic Elements for the Negotiation of a World Grants Arrangement, which eventually was rolled into a new International Grains Arrangement.
The EEC claimed that for it the main result of the negotiations on agriculture was that they "greatly helped to define its own common policy". The developing countries, who played a minor role throughout the negotiations in this round, benefited nonetheless from substantial tariff cuts particularly in non-agricultural items of interest to them.
Their main achievement at the time, however, was seen to be the adoption of Part IV of the GATT, which absolved them from according reciprocity to developed countries in trade negotiations. In the view of many developing countries, this was a direct result of the call at UNCTAD I for a better trade deal for them.
There has been argument ever since whether this symbolic gesture was a victory for them, or whether it ensured their exclusion in the future from meaningful participation in the multilateral trading system. On the other hand, there was no doubt that the extension of the Long-Term Arrangement Regarding International Trade in Cotton Textiles, which later became the Multi-Fiber Arrangement, for three years until 1970 led to the longer-term impairment of export opportunities for developing countries.
Another outcome of the Kennedy Round was the adoption of an Anti-dumping Code, which gave more precise guidance on the implementation of Article VI of the GATT. In particular, it sought to ensure speedy and fair investigations, and it imposed limits on the retrospective application of anti-dumping measures.
Kennedy Round took place from 1962–1967. $40 billion in tariffs were eliminated or reduced.
Reduced tariffs and established new regulations aimed at controlling the proliferation of non-tariff barriers and voluntary export restrictions. 102 countries took part in the round. Concessions were made on $19 billion worth.
The Uruguay Round began in 1986. It was the most ambitious round to date, hoping to expand the competence of the GATT to important new areas such as services, capital, intellectual property, textiles, and agriculture. 123 countries took part in the round. The Uruguay Round was also the first set of multilateral trade negotiations in which developing countries had played an active role.
Agriculture was essentially exempted from previous agreements as it was given special status in the areas of import quotas and export subsidies, with only mild caveats. However, by the time of the Uruguay round, many countries considered the exception of agriculture to be sufficiently glaring that they refused to sign a new deal without some movement on agricultural products. These fourteen countries came to be known as the "Cairns Group", and included mostly small and medium-sized agricultural exporters such as Australia, Brazil, Canada, Indonesia, and New Zealand.
The Agreement on Agriculture of the Uruguay Round continues to be the most substantial trade liberalization agreement in agricultural products in the history of trade negotiations. The goals of the agreement were to improve market access for agricultural products, reduce domestic support of agriculture in the form of price-distorting subsidies and quotas, eliminate over time export subsidies on agricultural products and to harmonize to the extent possible sanitary and phytosanitary measures between member countries.
In 1993, the GATT was updated (GATT 1994) to include new obligations upon its signatories. One of the most significant changes was the creation of the World Trade Organization (WTO). The 76 existing GATT members and the European Communities became the founding members of the WTO on 1 January 1995. The other 51 GATT members rejoined the WTO in the following two years (the last being Congo in 1997). Since the founding of the WTO, 33 new non-GATT members have joined and 22 are currently negotiating membership. There are a total of 164 member countries in the WTO, with Liberia and Afghanistan being the newest members as of 2018.
Of the original GATT members, Syria, Lebanon and the SFR Yugoslavia have not rejoined the WTO. Since FR Yugoslavia,(renamed as Serbia and Montenegro and with membership negotiations later split in two), is not recognised as a direct SFRY successor state; therefore, its application is considered a new (non-GATT) one. The General Council of WTO, on 4 May 2010, agreed to establish a working party to examine the request of Syria for WTO membership. The contracting parties who founded the WTO ended official agreement of the "GATT 1947" terms on 31 December 1995. Montenegro became a member in 2012, while Serbia is in the decision stage of the negotiations and is expected to become a member of the WTO in the future.
Whilst GATT was a set of rules agreed upon by nations, the WTO is an institutional body. As such, GATT was merely a forum for nations to discuss, while the WTO is a proper international organization (which implies physical headquarters, staff, delegation ...). The WTO expanded its scope from traded goods to include trade within the service sector and intellectual property rights. Although it was designed to serve multilateral agreements, during several rounds of GATT negotiations (particularly the Tokyo Round) plurilateral agreements created selective trading and caused fragmentation among members. WTO arrangements are generally a multilateral agreement settlement mechanism of GATT.
The average tariff levels for the major GATT participants were about 22 percent in 1947.As a result of the first negotiating rounds, tariffs were reduced in the GATT core of the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia, relative to other contracting parties and non-GATT participants. By the Kennedy round (1962–67), the average tariff levels of GATT participants were about 15%. After the Uruguay Round, tariffs were under 5%.
In addition to facilitating applied tariff reductions, the early GATT's contribution to trade liberalization "include binding the negotiated tariff reductions for an extended period (made more permanent in 1955), establishing the generality of nondiscrimination through most-favored nation (MFN) treatment and national treatment, ensuring increased transparency of trade policy measures, and providing a forum for future negotiations and for the peaceful resolution of bilateral disputes. All of these elements contributed to the rationalization of trade policy and the reduction of trade barriers and policy uncertainty."
According to Dartmouth economic historian Douglas Irwin,
The prosperity of the world economy over the past half century owes a great deal to the growth of world trade which, in turn, is partly the result of farsighted officials who created the GATT. They established a set of procedures giving stability to the trade-policy environment and thereby facilitating the rapid growth of world trade. With the long run in view, the original GATT conferees helped put the world economy on a sound foundation and thereby improved the livelihood of hundreds of millions of people around the world.
The Reciprocal Tariff Act provided for the negotiation of tariff agreements between the United States and separate nations, particularly Latin American countries. The Act served as an institutional reform intended to authorize the president to negotiate with foreign nations to reduce tariffs in return for reciprocal reductions in tariffs in the United States. It resulted in a reduction of duties.
A trade agreement is a wide-ranging taxes, tariff and trade treaty that often includes investment guarantees. It exists when two or more countries agree on terms that helps them trade with each other. The most common trade agreements are of the preferential and free trade types are concluded in order to reduce tariffs, quotas and other trade restrictions on items traded between the signatories.
The Cairns Group is an interest group of 19 agricultural exporting countries, composed of Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Indonesia, Malaysia, New Zealand, Pakistan, Paraguay, Peru, the Philippines, South Africa, Thailand, Uruguay, and Vietnam.
The Uruguay Round was the 8th round of multilateral trade negotiations (MTN) conducted within the framework of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), spanning from 1986 to 1993 and embracing 123 countries as "contracting parties". The Round led to the creation of the World Trade Organization, with GATT remaining as an integral part of the WTO agreements. The broad mandate of the Round had been to extend GATT trade rules to areas previously exempted as too difficult to liberalize and increasingly important new areas previously not included. The Round came into effect in 1995 with deadlines ending in 2000 under the administrative direction of the newly created World Trade Organization (WTO).
The Kennedy Round was the sixth session of General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) multilateral trade negotiations held between 1964 and 1967 in Geneva, Switzerland. Congressional passage of the U.S. Trade Expansion Act in 1962 authorized the White House to conduct mutual tariff negotiations, ultimately leading to the Kennedy Round. Participation greatly increased over previous rounds. Sixty-six nations, representing 80% of world trade, attended the official opening on May 4, 1964, at the Palais des Nations. Despite several disagreements over details, the director general announced the round’s success on May 15, 1967, and the final agreement was signed on June 30, 1967—the very last day permitted under the Trade Expansion Act. The round was named after U.S. President John F. Kennedy, who was assassinated six months before the opening negotiations.
The Agreement on Trade-Related Investment Measures (TRIMs) are rules that are applicable 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.
The Agreement on Agriculture (AoA) is an international treaty of the World Trade Organization. It was negotiated during the Uruguay Round of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, and entered into force with the establishment of the WTO on January 1, 1995.
The WTO Ministerial Conference of 1999 was a meeting of the World Trade Organization, convened at the Washington State Convention and Trade Center in Seattle, Washington, USA, over the course of three days, beginning Tuesday, 30 November 1999. A week before the meeting, delegates admitted failure to agree on the agenda and the presence of deep disagreements with developing countries. Intended as the launch of a new round of multilateral trade negotiations that would have been called "The Millennium Round", the negotiations were marred by poor organization and controversial management of large street protests. Developing country representatives became resentful and uncooperative on being excluded from talks as the United States and the European Union attempted to cement a mutual deal on agriculture. The negotiations collapsed and were reconvened at Doha, Qatar, in November 2001. The Doha venue enabled on-site public protest to be excluded. Necessary agenda concessions were made to include the interests of developing countries, which had by then further established their own negotiation blocs, such as the Non-Aligned Movement and the Shanghai Co-operation Organisation. Thus, the current round is called the Doha Development Round, which has since 2008 remained stalled as a result of diverging perspectives regarding tariffs, agriculture, and non-tariff barriers such as agricultural subsidies.
The Trade Act of 1974 was passed to help industry in the United States become more competitive or phase workers into other industries or occupations.
The original member states of theWorld Trade Organization are the parties to the GATT after ratifying the Uruguay Round Agreements, and the European Communities. They obtained this status at the entry into force on 1 January 1995 or upon their date of ratification. All other members have joined the organization as a result of negotiation, and membership consists of a balance of rights and obligations. The process of becoming a World Trade Organization (WTO) member is unique to each applicant country, and the terms of accession are dependent upon the country's stage of economic development and the current trade regime.
This is a timeline of the World Trade Organization (WTO).
The stated aim of the World Trade Organization (WTO) is to "ensure that trade flows as smoothly, predictably and freely as possible". However, the WTO does not claim to be a "free market" organization. According to the WTO, it is "sometimes described as a 'free trade' institution, but that is not entirely accurate. The system does allow tariffs and, in limited circumstances, other forms of protection. More accurately, it is a system of rules dedicated to open, fair and undistorted economic competition." This compatibility to a certain degree of protection is proved, for example, by the fact that cartels like the OPEC have never been involved in trade disputes with the WTO, despite the evident contrast between their objectives.
Non-violation nullification of benefits (NVNB) claims are a species of dispute settlement in the World Trade Organization arising under World Trade Organization multilateral and bilateral trade agreements. NVNB claims are controversial in that they are widely perceived to promote the social vices of unpredictability and uncertainty in international trade law. Other commentators have described NVNB claims as potentially inserting corporate competition policy into the World Trade Organization Dispute Settlement Understanding (DSU).
The term multilateral trade negotiations (MTN) initially applied to negotiations between General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) member nations conducted under the auspices of the GATT and aimed at reducing tariff and nontariff trade barriers. In 1995 the World Trade Organization (WTO) replaced the GATT as the administrative body. A current round of multilateral trade negotiations was conducted in the Doha Development Agenda round.
The spaghetti bowl effect is the multiplication of free trade agreements (FTAs), supplanting multilateral World Trade Organization negotiations as an alternative path toward globalization. The term was first used by Jagdish Bhagwati in 1995 in the paper: “US Trade policy: The infatuation with free trade agreements”, where he openly criticized FTAs as being paradoxically counter-productive in promoting freer and more opened global trades. According to Bhagwati, the too many crisscrossing FTAs would represent a costly complication of World trades, and would allow countries to adopt discriminative trade policies which would, in turns, reduce trade welfare.
China became a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO) on 11 December 2001. The admission of China to the WTO was preceded by a lengthy process of negotiations and required significant changes to the Chinese economy. It signified China's deeper integration into the world economy.
Afghanistan received membership to the World Trade Organization (WTO) at the 10th WTO Ministerial Conference in Nairobi, Kenya, December 17, 2015. Afghanistan is 164th in the world and 36th among the less-developed countries that have received WTO membership.
The World Trade Organization (WTO) is an intergovernmental organization which regulates international trade. The WTO officially commenced on 1 January 1995 under the Marrakesh Agreement, signed by 123 nations on 15 April 1994, replacing the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), which commenced in 1948. The WTO deals with regulation of trade between participating countries by providing a framework for negotiating trade agreements and a dispute resolution process aimed at enforcing participants' adherence to WTO agreements, which is signed by representatives of member governments and ratified by their parliaments. Most of the issues that the WTO focuses on derive from previous trade negotiations, especially from the Uruguay Round (1986–1994).