The General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT)

Updated July 10, 2020 | Infoplease Staff

GATT was formally signed on April 15, 1994, in Marrakesh, Morocco, by representatives from 124 member countries. GATT was know as the Uruguay Round of talks because the wide-ranging trade liberalization negotiations began in the Uruguayan resort of Punta del Este in 1986.

The sweeping trade pact opens global markets between member countries for goods and services and projects a worldwide reduction of tariffs of up to 40% and a $235-billion increase in annual global income.

The U.S. House of Representatives approved the legislation on November 29, 1994, and the Senate ratified the accord on December 1. President Clinton signed the bill on December 8.

The treaty established a successor to GATT, the World Trade Organization (WTO), and it replaced GATT on January 1, 1995. Because of U.S. concerns that some future decisions by the organization may be unacceptable under U.S. laws, a provision in the treaty allows any member to withdraw from the WTO six months after giving notice.

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