GATT was first discussed at the United Nations Conference on Trade and Employment in Havana, Cuba (1947), where the idea of creating the International Trade Organization (ITO) was proposed (see United Nations). It was hoped that it would complement the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in promoting international economic cooperation. While more than 50 nations were negotiating the ITO and organizing its founding charter, preparatory meetings for gatt were held. After several meetings, Canada and 22 other nations signed gatt on October 30, 1947 in Geneva. The Agreement entered into force on 1 January 1948. It was initially seen as a provisional agreement to be replaced by ITO. After the United States withdrew from the ITO in 1950, the focus was on GATT (see also globalization). While trade negotiations between Member States were regular and refined, eight multilateral trade conferences (so-called rounds) were held between 1947 and 1994 (see international trade). Gatt was created in 1947 in the first round, with subsequent rounds held in Annecy, France (1949) and Torquay, England (1951). All other rounds were held in Geneva in 1956, 1960/62 (Dillon Round), 1964/67 (Kennedy Round), 1973/79 (Tokyo Round) and 1986/1994 (Uruguay Round). The most important round of GATT negotiations was the Uruguay Round, which began in September 1986.
It ended on 15 April 1994, after almost eight years of negotiations, and entered into force on 1 January 1995. The resulting comprehensive document contained both major revisions to the GATT, as was the case after the previous seven rounds of negotiations, and a wide range of other agreements covering two types of points: (1) issues not previously covered by 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 incompletely addressed in previous negotiations, such as rules of origin, dumping, subsidies, safeguard measures and dispute settlement procedures. At the same time, 15 countries focused on negotiating a simple trade agreement. They agreed on the elimination of trade restrictions on $10 billion worth of trade, or one-fifth of the global total. A total of 23 countries signed the GATT Agreement on 30 October 1947, paving the way for its entry into force on 30 June 1948. This series of meetings and reduced tariffs would continue and new GATT provisions would be taken into account in the process. The average rate of duty rose from about 22% when gatt was first signed in Geneva in 1947, to about 5% at the end of the Uruguay Round, concluded in 1993, which also negotiated the creation of the WTO. It should become the international trade organization (ITO), very ambitious. The 50 countries that started negotiations wanted it to be an agency within the United Nations that creates rules, not only for trade, but also for employment, agreements on raw materials, trade practices, foreign direct investment and services. The ITO Charter was adopted in March 1948, but the U.S. Congress and legislators in some other countries refused to ratify it. The original 23 members of gatt were Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Burma (now Myanmar), Canada, Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), Chile, China, Cuba, Czechoslovakia (now the Czech Republic and Slovakia), France, India, Lebanon, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Pakistan, Syria, South Africa, the United Kingdom, and Norway, Pakistan, Syria, South Africa, the United Kingdom, the membership increased to 128 countries in 1994.
Contrary to the ITO Charter, gatt did not give its consent to Congress. . . .