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The General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade is a watchword for a series of global trade negotiations that took place in nine rounds in total between 1947 and 1995. GATT was first conceived after the Allied victory in World War II at the United Nations Conference on Trade and Employment (UNCTAD) in 1947, where the International Trade Organization (ITO) was one of the ideas proposed. It was hoped that the ITO would be managed alongside the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). More than 50 nations negotiated and organized their founding charter, but after the U.S. withdrew, those negotiations collapsed. [8] Finally, under gatt, free trade agreements have been authorized between countries that opened, among others, the 1989 Canada-United States Free Trade Agreement and the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). In addition, countries could restrict trade on national security grounds. These include the protection of patents, copyrights and public morals. While gatt was a set of rules agreed upon by nations, the WTO is an intergovernmental organization with its own headquarters and staff, and its scope encompasses trade in goods, trade in services and intellectual property rights. Although intended to serve as multilateral agreements, plurilateral agreements have resulted in selective trade and fragmentation of members in several rounds of GATT negotiations (notably Tokyo). WTO agreements are generally a multilateral GATT resolution mechanism. [24] The agreement concluded at the end of the Uruguay Round also established the World Trade Organization (WTO) as an administrative institution, which replaces or submits the GATT and encompasses all agreements and arrangements concluded within the framework of the Uruguay Round. While at the end of the Uruguay Round the GATT was formally concluded on 15 April 1994 and the WTO entered into force on 1 January 1995, gatt remained the WTO framework treaty on trade in goods.

Nations that want to become members of the WTO must first conclude the negotiations to become members of the GATT. As of July 2016, 164 countries were WTO members and 21 observer governments (in the accession process). The General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) is a legally valid agreement between many countries whose overall objective was to promote international trade by removing or eliminating barriers to trade, such as tariffs or quotas. . . .