The GATT and the WTO: An Overview

Under the auspices of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), eight rounds of trade negotiations lowered tariffs of developed countries to an average 3.9 percent. New areas, such as services, intellectual property rights, agriculture, and textiles and apparel, were brought under the discipline of the GATT for the first time in the Uruguay Round. The World Trade Organization (WTO), a permanent entity agreed on during the Uruguay Round, went into effect January 1, 1995. Multilateral trade issues for the future include continuing services negotiations, the relationship of the environment and labor standards to trade, and investment and competition policy.