The General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) was created in 1947 with the primary objective of promoting free trade among countries. The agreement was updated and expanded several times, with the latest round of negotiations resulting in the establishment of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 1995. The purpose of GATT is to provide a framework for trade negotiations, reduce trade barriers, and ensure fair trade practices between countries.
One of the most significant achievements of GATT was the reduction of tariffs on trade goods. The agreement required countries to gradually reduce their tariffs and other trade barriers, allowing for a more open and competitive global market. This increased competition has led to the growth of international trade and has allowed countries to specialize in their areas of comparative advantage.
GATT has also been instrumental in promoting the development of developing countries. The agreement requires developed countries to provide preferential treatment to developing countries, including lower tariffs on their exports. This has led to increased trade and investment in these countries, promoting economic growth and reducing poverty.
Another important aspect of GATT is the resolution of trade disputes between countries. The agreement provides a mechanism for countries to resolve their disputes through negotiations and, if necessary, through the WTO`s dispute settlement system. This system has been successful in resolving trade disputes between countries, thus reducing the potential for trade wars and other conflicts.
In addition to promoting free trade and resolving disputes, GATT has played a vital role in protecting intellectual property rights. The agreement requires countries to provide protection for intellectual property, including patents, copyrights, trademarks, and trade secrets. This protection has been essential in promoting innovation, which has led to advancements in technology, medicine, and other fields.
In conclusion, the purpose of GATT is to promote free trade, reduce trade barriers, and ensure fair trade practices between countries. The agreement has been successful in achieving these objectives, resulting in increased trade and investment, economic growth, poverty reduction, and the protection of intellectual property rights. The establishment of the WTO has strengthened GATT`s role as the primary forum for global trade negotiations, and it remains an essential tool for promoting international cooperation and development.