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The GATT has introduced the principle of the most favoured nation into members` collective agreements. Therefore, reforms in the politically sensitive areas of world trade may be more feasible as part of a comprehensive package – the agreement on agricultural trade reform under the Uruguay Round is a good example. The main round of GATT negotiations was the Uruguay Round, which began in September 1986. It was concluded on April 15, 1994 after nearly eight years of negotiations and came into force on January 1, 1995. The resulting comprehensive document included both significant revisions to the GATT, as was the case after the previous seven rounds of negotiations, and a wide range of other agreements on two types of issues: (1) issues that are not yet covered by the normal GATT rules, such as trade-related investment measures, trade in services, intellectual property rights and agriculture, textiles and clothing; and (2) issues that have been dealt with incompletely in previous negotiations, such as rules of origin, dumping, subsidies, safeguards and dispute resolution procedures. Reducing tariffs and introducing new rules to stem the increase in non-tariff barriers and voluntary export restrictions. 102 countries participated in the cycle. Concessions have been made for $19 billion. The GATT had general rules that constituted a business code. The main principle of the GATT was trade without discrimination, in which each member country opened its markets to all the others. As stipulated in the most favoured unconditional clauses, this meant that once a country and its major trading partners had agreed on a reduction in a tariff, this tariff reduction would automatically extend to any other GATT member. The GATT included a long schedule of specific tariff concessions for each contracting state representing tariffs that each country was willing to extend to other countries. The success of GATT in reducing tariffs to such a low level, combined with a series of economic recessions in the 1970s and early 1980s, led governments to develop alternative forms of protection for sectors subject to increasing foreign competition.

High unemployment rates and plant closures have prompted governments in Western Europe and North America to seek bilateral market allocation agreements with competitors and to enter into a subsidy race to maintain their continued agricultural trade. Both amendments have undermined the credibility and effectiveness of the GATT. The fourth round returned to Geneva in 1955 and lasted until May 1956. 26 countries participated in the cycle. $2.5 billion in tariffs have been eliminated or reduced. The Uruguay cycle began in 1986. It was the most ambitious cycle to date that hoped to extend GATT`s jurisdiction to important new areas such as services, capital, intellectual property, textiles and agriculture. 123 countries participated in the cycle.

The Uruguay Round was also the first round of multilateral trade negotiations in which developing countries played an active role. [16] But the size of a business cycle can be both a strength and a weakness. The question that arises from time to time is: would it not be easier to focus the negotiations on one sector? Recent history is inconclusive. In some phases, the Uruguay round seemed so tedious that it seemed impossible for all participants to reach agreement on all issues. Then the round ended successfully in 1993/94. Two years followed, during which it was not possible to reach an agreement on maritime transport in the various sectors. They were not multilateral, but they were a start. Several codes were eventually amended during the Uruguay Round and turned into multilateral commitments, which were accepted by all WTO members. Only four “plurilateral” remained, i.e.

public procurement, beef, civil aircraft and dairy products. In 1997, the mem