A major new study documents the potential extra economic growth available on both sides of the Atlantic if the remaining non-tariff trade barriers were eliminated between the U.S. and the European Union.

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François ClemenceauIt has been 12 years since that the GATT (General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade) was replaced by the World Trade Organization. The change that can now be seen as a milestone marking the end of what can now be seen as an era— perhaps the good old days—in the modern history of international negotiations to liberalize trade. The GATT framework dated from the post-World War II Bretton Woods agreement to reduce barriers to international trade as part of a larger plan for economic recovery. It was an agreement, not an organization and its history can be viewed as three periods: initially, it focused on commodities and freezing existing tariff levels, then on reducing tariffs and finally, in a phase that consisted only of the Uruguay Round from 1986 to 1994, it extended the agreement fully to new areas such as intellectual property, services, capital and agriculture. Out of this successful round the WTO was born out of a feeling that it was now time to institutionalize trade negotiations in an organization.

 

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