Multilateral Agreements

One of the most success full multilateral agreements was the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), which became the World Trade Organization (WTO) at the beginning of 1995. Their charters speak of raising living standards through “substantial reduction of tariffs and .other barriers to trade and the elimination of discriminatory treatment in international commerce The Tow currently has 130 member countries, which account for 90 percent of international trade.

The latest round of trade negotiations, dubbed the “Millennium Round,” got off to a rocky start in seattle in December 1999. The objectives of this’ round were to continue to liberalize trade. with particular attention given to agriculture and Internet commerce. It was doomed when the United States and many nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) attempted to include environmental and labor standards in international-trade agreements. Did that tear-gas-shrouded meeting at the century’s end mark the end of the long multinational efforts to open borders to trade and finance? Economists and policymakers will be watching closely efforts to revive the Millennium Round.

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