General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade

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General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade

The General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) originated with a meeting of 22 nations meeting in 1947 in Geneva, Switzerland. By 2000, there were 142 member nations, with another 30 countries seeking admission. The detailed commitments by each country to limit tariffs on particular items by the amount negotiated and specified in its tariff schedule is the central core of the GATT system of international obligation.

The obligations relating to the tariff schedules are contained in Article II of GATT. For each commodity listed on the schedule of a country, that country agrees to charge a tariff that will not exceed an amount specified in the schedule. It can, if it wishes, charge a lower tariff.

The World Trade Organization (WTO) heavily influences the workings of the GATT treaties through the efforts of various committees. Representatives of member countries of the WTO comprise the Council for the Trade in Goods (Goods Council), which oversees the work of 11 committees responsible for overseeing the various sectors of GATT. The committees focus on such issues as agriculture, sanitary measures, subsidies, customs valuation, and rules of origin.

Further readings

Bagwell, Kyle. 2002. The Economics of the World Trading System. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press.

Cross-references

Commodity; Tariff.

General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade

abbreviation for GATT.
References in periodicals archive ?
In 1947 when negotiators drafted the original GATT treaty, they recognized that from time to time, some countries might want to push ahead with greater trade liberalizations.
Due to the changes in the patent expiration dates resulting from the GATT treaty, this patent will expire in 2017 and gives us an extra two years over the previous patent rules," stated Peter Livingston, the Company's CEO.
And the same year the embargo went into effect, Mexico challenged it before the GATT treaty (the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade) as an unfair infringement of free trade.
Dialectics sometimes appears to have run its course, left-wing and right-wing politics too often blur into the defiantly apolitical realm of consumerism, and Alexandre Kojeve, the end-of-history theorist at the heart of this novel, has left behind a partial legacy in his participation in the potential capitalist wrap-up of the GATT treaty.