chapter
Introduction
Pages 14

The World Trade Organisation (WTO) is aimed at progressive reduction of barriers to market access in goods and services. The process started soon after the Second World War in 1947 when the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) was signed by 23 Contracting Parties.1 The GATT not only outlawed non-tariff barriers (quantitative restrictions under art. XI) but also through successive rounds of negotiations strove to reduce tariff barriers.2 A major breakthrough in this process was gained in 1994 when the Marrakesh Agreement establishing the WTO was signed with an expanded coverage including not only trade in goods but also trade in services and intellectual property rights.3 The purpose of this Agreement is clearly elaborated in its preamble:

The Parties to this Agreement, Recognising that their relations in the field of trade and economic endeavour should be conducted with a view to raising standards of living, ensuring full employment and a large and steadily growing volume of real income and effective demand, and expanding the production of and trade in goods and services, while allowing for the optimal use of the world’s resources in accordance with the objective of sustainable development, seeking both to protect and preserve the environment and to enhance the means for doing so in a manner consistent with their respective needs and concerns at different levels of economic development, Recognising further that there is need for positive efforts designed to ensure that developing countries, and especially the least developed among them, secure a share in the growth in international trade commensurate with the needs of their economic development, Being desirous of contributing to these objectives by entering into reciprocal and mutually advantageous arrangements directed to the substantial reduction of tariffs and other barriers to trade and to the elimination of discriminatory treatment in international trade relations.