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date: 19 July 2019

Abstract and Keywords

The General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) was originally conceived as the tariff-bargaining forum for a more comprehensive trade body, yet that big institution did not exist until the World Trade Organization came into being in 1995. The GATT became more than an effective tool for reducing tariffs and promoting global growth in trade. Its long span of success derived mainly from its focused effort to reduce trade barriers, and mainly tariff levels, and the steady institutional, structural, and programmatic growth that derived from the expansion in world trade. This happened in two stages, over the first seven rounds of negotiations during which the GATT evolved. This article focuses on these first seven rounds, and discusses the GATT philosophy as well as its recovery and competition phases. Over the years, GATT negotiating ‘rounds’, as the eight multilateral meetings that occurred from 1947 to 1994 were called, considered a host of topics. But the forum's mission of trade liberalization was so entrenched that many of the top concerns of nations became the responsibility of other organizations.

Keywords: Tariffs and Trade, tariffs, trade barriers, World Trade Organization, negotiating rounds, trade liberalization, recovery, competition

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