Uruguay Round

Uruguay Round

The Uruguay Round commenced in September 1986 and continued until April 1994. The round, based on the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) ministerial meeting in Geneva (1982), was launched in Punta del Este in Uruguay (hence the name), followed by negotiations in Montreal, Geneva, Brussels, Washington, D.C., and Tokyo, with the 20 agreements finally being signed in Marrakech - the Marrakesh Agreement. The Round transformed the GATT into the World Trade Organization.

See the Doha Development Round for the following round.


The main objectives of the Uruguay Round were:
*to reduce agricultural subsidies
*to put restrictions on foreign investment, and
*to begin the process of opening trade in services like banking and insurance.

They also wanted to draft a code to deal with copyright violation and other forms of intellectual property rights.


The 1982 Ministerial Declaration identified problems including structural deficiencies, spill-over impacts of certain countries' policies on world trade GATT could not manage. To address these issues, the eighth GATT round (known as the Uruguay Round) was launched in September 1986, in Punta del Este, Uruguay.P. Gallagher, "The First Ten Years of the WTO", 4] It was the biggest negotiating mandate on trade ever agreed: the talks were going to extend the trading system into several new areas, notably trade in services and intellectual property, and to reform trade in the sensitive sectors of agriculture and textiles; all the original GATT articles were up for review. [http://www.wto.org/english/thewto_e/whatis_e/tif_e/fact5_e.htm The Uruguay Round] , World Trade Organization]

The round was supposed to end in December 1990, but the US and EU disagreed on how to reform agricultural trade and decided to extend the talks. [A. Bredimas, "International Economic Law", 16] Finally, In November 1992, the US and EU settled most of their differences in a deal known informally as "the Blair House accord", and on April 15 1994, the deal was signed by ministers from most of the 123 participating governments at a meeting in Marrakesh, Morocco. [Even after agreement was reached in December 1993, and the Final Act was signed, the effort almost foundered in the US Congress, and the member states engaged in a quarrel for close to a year about who would be the first Director General of the WTO (A.F. Lowenfeld, "Preface", ix).] The agreement established the World Trade Organization, which came into being upon its entry into force on January 1, 1995, to replace the GATT system. It is widely regarded as the most profound institutional reform of the world trading system since the GATT's establishment. [P. Gallagher, "The First Ten Years of the WTO", 10
* Martin-Winters, "The Uruguay Round", 2


The GATT still exists as the WTO's umbrella treaty for trade in goods, updated as a result of the Uruguay Round negotiations (a distinction is made between GATT 1994, the updated parts of GATT, and GATT 1947, the original agreement which is still the heart of GATT 1994).P. Gallagher, "The First Ten Years of the WTO", 4
* [http://www.wto.org/english/thewto_e/whatis_e/tif_e/fact5_e.htm The Uruguay Round] , World Trade Organization] The GATT 1994 is not however the only legally binding agreement included in the Final Act; a long list of about 60 agreements, annexes, decisions and understandings was adopted. In fact, the agreements fall into a simple structure with six main parts:
*an umbrella agreement (the Agreement Establishing the WTO);
*agreements for each of the three broad areas of trade that the WTO covers: goods and investment (the Multilateral Agreements on Trade in Goods including the GATT 1994 and the Trade Related Investment Measures (TRIMS)), General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS), and Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS);
*dispute settlement (DSU); and
*reviews of governments' trade policies (TPRM). [http://www.wto.org/english/thewto_e/whatis_e/tif_e/agrm1_e.htm Overview: a Navigational Guide] , World Trade Organization. For the complete list of "The Uruguay Round Agreements", see [http://www.wto.org/english/docs_e/legal_e/legal_e.htm WTO legal texts] , World Trade Organization, and [http://www.worldtradelaw.net/uragreements/ Uruguay Round Agreements, Understandings, Decisions and Declarations] , WorldTradeLaw.net]


Groups such as Oxfam have criticized the Uruguay Round for paying insufficient attention to the special needs of developing countries. One aspect of this criticism is that figures very close to rich country industries — such as former Cargill executive Dan Amstutz — had a major role in the drafting of Uruguay Round language on agriculture and other matters. As with the WTO in general, Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) such as Health Gap and Global Trade Watch also criticize what was negotiated in the Round on intellectual property and industrial tariffs as setting up too many constraints on policy-making and human needs.

See also

* "Golan v. Gonzales", a failed challenge to the copyright restoration provisions of the Uruguay Round Agreements Act of 1996, the implementation of the Uruguay Round agreements in the United States Code
* Tokyo Round
* Doha Round


External links

* [http://www.wto.org/trade_resources/history/wto/urug_round.htm WTO history of the Uruguay Round]
* [http://www.wto.org/english/docs_e/legal_e/ursum_e.htm WTO Final Act of the Uruguay Round]

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