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.


Commodity; Tariff.

West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade

abbreviation for GATT.
Collins Dictionary of Law © W.J. Stewart, 2006
References in periodicals archive ?
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its plurilateral extension through the Tokyo Round Subsidies Code and,
Thus, Lusztig's claim that Canada only began to abandon protectionism under pressure from other countries in the 1973-79 Tokyo Round is a stretch.
participation in this round of negotiations (the Tokyo Round 1974-79), directed the president to seek "to harmonize, reduce, or eliminate" nontariff trade barriers and tighten various GATT rules on unfair trade practices.
These preferential margins are relatively high because they do not reflect all the Kennedy Round and Tokyo Round cuts in MFN tariffs and because the studies estimated (incorrectly) that the U.
The last round of MTNs was the Tokyo Round (1973-79).
In the trade area, RMA represented the industry during the "Tokyo Round" and "Uruguay Round" of multi-national trade negotiations.
What was true for the Kennedy Round--that the "main action of the negotiation often occurred away from the multilateral chambers" (234)--was even more characteristic of the next round of trade negotiations, the Tokyo Round. Most negotiations in the Tokyo Round had what Gilbert Winham, arguably the foremost historian of the Tokyo Round, has described as a "pyramidal" structure, whereby "agreements were initiated by the major powers at the top and then gradually multilateralized through the inclusion of other parties in the discussions." (235) As Winham has explained,
In addition, the G7 leaders at Bonn pledged to bring a successful conclusion to the Tokyo Round of global trade negotiations in the GATT, which were floundering at the time.
He was first posted in Geneva in the late 1960s, during the implementation phase of the Kennedy Round, and was Chairman of the GATT Balance of Payments Committee in 1970-71, and was also a participant in the Tokyo Ministerial meeting that launched the Tokyo Round in 1973.
On the first day of the Tokyo round, Kato and Karasin again failed to produce any breakthrough, with both sides sticking to their respective proposals.
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