General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) Meaning: An Overview
The General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) was an international agreement signed in October 1947 between 23 countries. The agreement aimed to promote international trade by reducing or eliminating barriers such as tariffs, quotas, and other trade restrictions.
Throughout the years, the GATT was revised to reflect the changing needs of the international trading system. However, in 1994, it was replaced by the World Trade Organization (WTO), which was established to administer and enforce the trade rules agreed upon by member countries.
The main principles of the GATT are non-discrimination, free trade, and reciprocity. Non-discrimination means that member countries should provide equal treatment to all trading partners, without favoring one over the other. Free trade refers to the idea that member countries should not impose trade barriers to protect their domestic industries. Reciprocity means that member countries should grant each other the same trade concessions and benefits.
The GATT also introduced three rounds of trade negotiations, known as the “GATT rounds,” which aimed to reduce trade barriers and promote freer trade. The first round of negotiations took place in Geneva, Switzerland, in 1947, and the last round, the Uruguay Round, was completed in 1994.
The Uruguay Round resulted in the creation of the WTO and the signing of the Agreement on Agriculture, the Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures, and the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS).
Under the GATT and the WTO, member countries have made significant progress in reducing trade barriers, creating a more open and predictable trading system. However, there are still challenges that need to be addressed, such as non-tariff barriers, intellectual property rights, and the impact of trade on the environment and labor standards.
In conclusion, the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) was an international agreement signed in 1947 that aimed to promote international trade by reducing or eliminating barriers such as tariffs, quotas, and other trade restrictions. The GATT was replaced by the WTO in 1994, which has continued the work of reducing trade barriers and promoting free trade. The GATT and the WTO have made significant progress in creating a more open and predictable trading system, but there are still challenges that need to be addressed to ensure that everyone benefits from global trade.