chapter  2
16 Pages

International and Regional Agreements Affecting Trade

The General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) was established in 1945 as a provisional agreement pending the creation of an Interna­ tional Trade Organization (ITO). The ITO draft charter, which was the result of trade negotiations at the Havana Conference of 1948, however, never came into being due to the failure of the U.S. Congress to approve it. Other countries also declined to proceed with the ITO without the partici­ pation of the United States. Thus, the GATT continued to fill the vacuum as a de facto trade organization, with codes of conduct for international trade, but with almost no basic constitution designed to regulate its inter­ national activities and procedures. Since the GATT, in theory, was not an “organization,” participating nations were called “contracting parties” and not members (Jackson, 1992; Hoekman and Kostecki, 1995).