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General Agreement on and Trade GATT a provisional and largely voluntary agreement for the reduction of barriers to world trade entered into by virtually all important trading nations is the major player in the US view of international business Negotiated in 1947 at Geneva Switzerland among 23 countries GATT came into force on Jan 1 1948 By 1983 90 nations were full members of GATT and 23 nations had limited membership The signatories as well as members under special or provisional terms include the United States the British Commonwealth countries most countries of Western Europe Eastern European nations including Poland Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia and a number of Latin American African and Asian countries such as Japan India and Pakistan These countries together account for more than 80 percent of the worlds trade GATT agreements do not affect the political relations of participating countries nor do they protect them from or other unfavorable trade treatment by fellow participating nations Trade accords reached by ministers at GATT conferences are subject to final approval by their governments During the depression of the 1930s the United States pursued a high-policy Hawley-Smoot Act of 1930 in the hope of increasing domestic production and employment Cordell Hull President Franklin D Roosevelts secretary of state recognized that high were hindering rather than helping recovery His efforts to secure a reversal brought about the Trade Agreements Act of 1934 which delegated to the president the authority to make bilateral cutting agreements The Hull program was extended periodically through the 1940s By the end of World War II it was evident that bilateral agreements had serious limitations Imports were used as a threat against the use of by other countries and concessions were withheld for fear that nonreciprocating nations might derive benefit from them A multilateral approach was needed and the United States took the initiative toward that end in the development of GATT Functions of GATT GATT has three essential features schedules of
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