What Was the General Agreement of Tariffs and Trade (Gatt)

Pierre Pescatore et al., WTO/GATT Dispute Settlement Manual (K4602.2. P47-1991) provides an overview of the GATT and contains texts of the agreements as well as selected and revised dispute settlement decisions. It also explains how to find texts from panel reports and how to analyze dispute settlement decisions. It is current to August 2000 and will no longer be updated. One of the most important achievements of GATT has been trade without discrimination. Each signatory member of gatt should be treated as equivalent to any other. This is called the most-favoured-nation principle and it has been adopted in the WTO. In practice, it follows that once a country has negotiated a tariff reduction with other countries (usually its main trading partners), the same reduction automatically applies to all GATT signatories. There were fallback clauses that allowed countries to negotiate exemptions if their domestic producers were particularly harmed by tariff reductions. The GATT was created to create rules to end or limit the most costly and undesirable features of the pre-war protectionist period, namely quantitative barriers to trade such as trade controls and quotas. The agreement also provided for a system for settling trade disputes between nations, and the framework allowed for a series of multilateral negotiations on the elimination of tariff barriers. Gatt was considered a significant success in the post-war years. Agriculture was essentially exempted from previous agreements, as it was granted special status in the areas of import quotas and export subsidies, with only minor reservations.

However, at the time of the Uruguay Round, many countries considered the exception to agriculture to be so blatant that they refused to sign a new agreement without some movement for agricultural products. These fourteen countries became known as the “Cairns Group” and consisted mainly of small and medium-sized agricultural exporters such as Australia, Brazil, Canada, Indonesia and New Zealand. 4. (a) Except as otherwise provided in this paragraph, where it is necessary, for the purposes of paragraph 2, for a Party to convert a price expressed in the currency of another country into its own currency, the conversion rate to be used for each currency concerned shall be used at the nominal value determined in accordance with the Articles of the Agreement on the International Monetary Fund: either the exchange rate recognized by the Fund or the nominal value determined in accordance with a special exchange agreement concluded in accordance with Article XV of this Agreement. 3. (a) In cases where import licences are issued under import restrictions, the Party applying the restrictions shall, at the request of a Party with an interest in marketing the product concerned, provide all relevant information on the management of restrictions, recently issued import licences and the distribution of such licences among supplier countries. provided that there is no obligation to provide information on the names of importing undertakings or service providers. Unlike the ITO Charter, gatt did not require Congressional approval. This is because the GATT was technically an agreement under the provisions of the U.S. Reciprocal Trade Act of 1934. Reduction of tariffs and introduction of new rules to control the spread of non-tariff barriers and voluntary export restrictions.

102 countries participated in the round. Concessions were made on trade worth $19 billion. The use of an exception is subject to the preambular requirement of Article XX that it may not be applied in such a way as to constitute arbitrary or unjustifiable discrimination or a disguised restriction on international trade. The interpretation of this provision has become an important issue in the application of the exceptions in Article XX. (c) The CONTRACTING PARTIES, in agreement with the International Monetary Fund, shall establish the rules for the conversion of foreign currencies by the Parties for which several exchange rates shall be maintained in accordance with the Articles of Agreement of the International Monetary Fund. Any Party may apply these rules to such foreign currencies for the purposes of paragraph 2 instead of using nominal values. Pending the adoption of these rules by the Contracting Parties, either Contracting Party may, for the purposes of paragraph 2, apply conversion rules designed to effectively reflect the value of that foreign currency in trade. As the Dillon Round moved through the arduous process of single-article customs negotiations, it became clear well before the end of the Round that a more comprehensive approach was needed to address the challenges arising from the creation of the European Economic Community (EEC) and EFTA, as well as the resurgence of Europe as a major international trader in general. The objective of GATT was to eliminate harmful trade protectionism.

Trade protectionism likely contributed to a 66% decline in world trade during the Great Depression. Gatt helped restore the world`s economic health after the devastation of the Depression and World War II. The summit almost led to a third organization. It would become the very ambitious International Trade Organization (IBA). The 50 countries that started negotiations wanted it to be an agency within the United Nations that creates rules not only for trade, but also for employment, commodity agreements, trade practices, foreign direct investment and services. The ITO Charter was passed in March 1948, but the U.S. Congress and lawmakers in some other countries refused to ratify it. In 1950, the Truman administration declared defeat and ended the ITO. 5. As a general rule, no Party should impose a specific obligation or sanction for non-compliance with pre-import labelling requirements, unless the marking is unduly delayed, misleading signs have been affixed or the required marking has been deliberately omitted. The GATT functioned as a de facto organization that held eight rounds of negotiations on various trade issues and on the settlement of international trade disputes. The Uruguay Round, concluded on 15 December 1993 after seven years of negotiations, resulted in an agreement between 117 countries (including the United States) to remove barriers to trade and create more comprehensive and enforceable global trade rules.

The agreement resulting from this Round, the Final Act containing the results of the Uruguay Round of multilateral trade negotiations, was signed in April 1994. The Uruguay Round Agreement was approved and implemented by the United States Congress in December 1994 and entered into force on 1 January 1995. Article XXVIII bis provided that CONTRACTING PARTIES TO GATT could negotiate tariff reductions, recognizing that tariff reductions are of paramount importance for the expansion of international trade. It also provided that customs negotiations could be conducted for each individual product and that success would depend on the participation of the parties engaged in a substantial part of their trade with each other. This, of course, recognized the central importance of MFN. What these parties have agreed would be made available to all parties in accordance with Article I of the GATT. The General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) is a legal agreement between many countries whose primary objective was to promote international trade by removing or removing barriers to trade such as tariffs or quotas. According to its preamble, its purpose was to “significantly reduce tariffs and other barriers to trade and eliminate preferences based on reciprocity and the mutually beneficial principle”. 5. The bases and methods for determining the value of goods subject to customs duties or other value-based charges or restrictions or regulated in any way by value should be stable and sufficiently publicised to enable economic operators to estimate the customs value with sufficient certainty.

The decisions of WTO bodies on the GATT Agreement are contained in the Guide to the Analytical Index to WTO Law and Practice 2. . . .