Uruguay round Table Agreement
The Uruguay Round Table Agreement: An Overview
The Uruguay Round Table Agreement (URTA) is a multilateral trade agreement signed in 1986, which became effective in January 1995. It is considered one of the most significant trade agreements in history, covering a wide range of issues related to international trade.
The URTA was developed as part of the Uruguay Round of General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) negotiations, which started in 1986 and ended in 1994. It involved 123 countries, which accounted for about three-quarters of the world’s trade in goods and services.
The primary objective of the URTA was to liberalize trade by reducing trade barriers and creating a more predictable and stable trading environment. It covered a wide range of issues, including the reduction of tariffs and non-tariff barriers, the protection of intellectual property, and the strengthening of the dispute settlement system.
One of the most significant achievements of the URTA was the creation of the World Trade Organization (WTO), which replaced GATT as the international organization responsible for regulating international trade. The WTO is responsible for implementing the rules and regulations set out in the URTA and provides a platform for member countries to negotiate new trade agreements and resolve trade disputes.
The URTA also made significant progress in reducing trade barriers, particularly in agriculture and textiles. It led to the elimination of many agricultural subsidies and quotas, which had been used to protect domestic producers in developed countries. This created new opportunities for developing countries to export their agricultural products to developed markets.
The URTA also strengthened the protection of intellectual property (IP) rights, particularly in the areas of copyright, patents, and trademarks. It established the TRIPS Agreement (Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights), which set out minimum standards for IP protection. This has encouraged innovation and investment in research and development, particularly in the pharmaceutical industry.
Furthermore, the URTA expanded the scope of the dispute settlement system, which is now one of the most important mechanisms for resolving trade disputes between countries. It provides a fair and impartial process for resolving disputes, which helps to maintain stability and predictability in international trade.
In conclusion, the Uruguay Round Table Agreement has had a significant impact on international trade, creating a more stable and predictable trading environment. It has reduced trade barriers, strengthened the protection of intellectual property, and expanded the dispute settlement system. While there are criticisms of the URTA, particularly from developing countries who argue that it favors developed countries, it remains an essential framework for regulating international trade today.