The General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) 1994 was a landmark agreement signed by 124 countries in Marrakesh, Morocco, in April 1994. The agreement was meant to replace the original GATT agreement of 1948, which had been designed to promote free trade and reduce trade barriers between countries.

The GATT 1994 is often considered the most significant agreement on international trade in modern history. It established a framework for trade negotiations and dispute settlement procedures that has helped to shape the global trading system we have today. It also paved the way for the establishment of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 1995, which oversees the implementation and enforcement of trade agreements between member countries.

One of the key provisions of the GATT 1994 was the commitment of member countries to reduce trade barriers such as tariffs and quotas. This was achieved through a series of negotiations known as the Uruguay Round, which began in 1986 and lasted until 1994. The Uruguay Round resulted in the creation of the WTO and the adoption of a number of important agreements, including the Agreement on Agriculture, the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), and the Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS).

One of the main achievements of the GATT 1994 was the reduction of tariffs on goods traded between member countries. This has helped to increase the volume of international trade and boost economic growth around the world. The agreement has also helped to create a more level playing field for trade, by reducing the advantages that some countries enjoyed through protectionist measures.

In addition to reducing trade barriers, the GATT 1994 also established rules for trade that have helped to promote fair competition and prevent unfair trade practices. For example, the agreement prohibits countries from discriminating against imports from other countries, and it prevents countries from using subsidies to give their own industries an unfair advantage.

The GATT 1994 has not been without its critics, however. Some have argued that the agreement has led to a race to the bottom in terms of labor and environmental standards, as countries compete to attract foreign investment by offering low wages and lax regulations. Others have pointed out that the agreement has not done enough to address the concerns of developing countries, which may not have the resources or negotiating power to compete with richer nations.

Despite these criticisms, the GATT 1994 remains a major milestone in the history of international trade. By establishing a framework for negotiation and dispute settlement, the agreement has helped to create a more stable and predictable trading environment for businesses and consumers around the world. As countries continue to grapple with the challenges of globalization, the legacy of the GATT 1994 will continue to shape the future of international trade for years to come.

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