General Agreement Significance

This article obliges, inter alia, members to negotiate specific commitments with regard to strengthening the national service capacities of developing countries; improving developing countries` access to distribution channels and information networks; and the liberalization of market access in areas of export interest to these countries. Unlike the ITO Charter, gatt did not require Congressional approval. This is due to the fact that the GATT was technically an agreement in accordance with the provisions of the U.S. Reciprocal Trade Act of 1934. For the most part, agriculture has been excluded from previous agreements, as it has been granted special status in the areas of import quotas and export subsidies, with slight reservations. However, at the time of the Uruguay Round, many countries felt that the exception for agriculture was so blatant that they refused to sign a new agreement without agricultural products without movement. These fourteen countries were known as the “Cairns Group” and consisted mainly of small and medium-medium-largest agricultural exporters such as Australia, Brazil, Canada, Indonesia and New Zealand. The Uruguay Round of agriculture remains the most important agreement in the history of trade negotiations to liberalize trade in agricultural products. The objective of the agreement was to improve market access for agricultural products, reduce domestic support for agriculture in the form of price-distorting subsidies and quotas, remove export subsidies for agricultural products over time, and harmonise sanitary and phytosanitary measures between Member States as much as possible. . . .

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