Today, when we talk about international trade, what do we think of? Do we envision those cargo ships that steam up the Savannah River, or do we harken back to the early Macedonians-some of the world's earliest international traders? Or, you may think of FedEx and UPS as they wing their way to foreign countries to deliver goods and services. Conversely, we might think of the hearty band of traders out of Mesopotamia, who crossed over the steppe region on what became known as the "Silk Road" to trade the various goods manufactured in the Fertile Crescent for the silks and fine fabrics of the Far East.
Please fast forward to the twentieth century where the first General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade occurred in 1947 (GATT 1947). This Agreement provided the skeleton on which ultimately the World Trade Organization (WTO) agreements including the current General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), which was negotiated from 1992 to 1994 and became effective in 1994, were developed. Unfortunately for some, these agreements did little to tear down trade barriers by committing to lowering tariffs and serious non-tariff barriers, and implementing the Dispute Settlement Understanding to achieve mutual agreements among the parties.
The goal of this Article is to introduce the reader to some fundamental GATT principles and exceptions, U.S. trade remedies permitted under GATT rules, some central achievements of the Uruguay Round of multilateral trade negotiations,' and various developments that have subsequently put pressure on the multilateral trading system.
Williams, Joel C. Jr.
"A Historical Look at International Trade, Then and Now,"
Mercer Law Review: Vol. 65:
3, Article 5.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.law.mercer.edu/jour_mlr/vol65/iss3/5