The General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) was a landmark international agreement that aimed to promote free and fair trade among member nations. It was signed on October 30, 1947, and went into effect on January 1, 1948.
GATT was created in response to the protectionist trade policies that were adopted by many countries during the Great Depression and World War II. These policies included high tariffs, quotas, and other trade barriers that made it difficult for businesses to sell their products and services in foreign markets.
The primary objective of GATT was to reduce these trade barriers and promote the liberalization of international trade. To achieve this goal, member countries agreed to lower their tariffs and other trade barriers through a process of tariff negotiations.
GATT also established rules and principles to govern international trade. These included the principle of non-discrimination, which states that member countries should not discriminate against other member countries in their trade policies. GATT also established procedures for resolving trade disputes between member countries.
Over the years, GATT went through several rounds of negotiations, during which member countries agreed to further reduce their tariffs and other trade barriers. The most significant of these negotiations was the Uruguay Round, which took place between 1986 and 1994. The Uruguay Round resulted in the creation of the World Trade Organization (WTO), which superseded GATT in 1995.
Today, the WTO continues to promote free and fair trade among member countries. It also provides a forum for resolving trade disputes and negotiating new trade agreements. The WTO`s current round of negotiations, known as the Doha Development Agenda, aims to further reduce trade barriers and promote development in less-developed countries.
In conclusion, the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade was a landmark international agreement that played a key role in promoting free and fair trade among member countries. While GATT has been superseded by the WTO, its legacy continues to shape international trade policy today.