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The General Agreement On Tariffs And Trade And Its Successor

Decisions are made by the whole membership. It`s usually consensual. A majority decision is also possible, but it has never been used in the WTO and has been extremely rare under the WTO`s predecessor, GATT. The WTOs agreements have been ratified by all members` parliaments. The WTOs govern the agreements are the result of negotiations between the members. The current series is, to a large extent, the result of the 1986-1994 Uruguay Round negotiations, which included a complete revision of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT). At the beginning of the GATT, the focus was on reducing tariffs and import duties to promote trade and reduce protectionism. This target has been largely achieved for industrial production over many business cycles. Tariffs on trade in industrial products were reduced from about 40% to less than 5% in the period from the creation of the GATT to the current implementation of the Uruguay Round. This process of reducing tariffs is at an early stage for agricultural and food products. During the Great Depression, the collapse of international relations and increased trade regulation exacerbated poor economic conditions and contributed to the outbreak of World War II.

After the war, the Allies believed that a multilateral framework for world trade would soften the protectionist policy that defined the 1930s and create economic interdependence that would foster partnership and reduce the risk of conflict. The idea was to create a code of conduct that would gradually liberalize (or soften) international trade. Under this code of conduct, consultations on trade issues could be conducted and resolved between Member States, and data on the characteristics and trends of global trade could be collected and shared. The WTOs agreements, which were negotiated and signed by a large majority of world trade economies and ratified by their parliaments, are at the heart of the multilateral trading system. Uruguay Round Agreement Guide (K4603 1987 . W67 1999), published by the WTO secretariat, provides a detailed explanation of the legal importance of Uruguay`s round of negotiation agreements.