Brief Notes on GATT, NAFTA and Other Trade
Bretton Woods Agreement
Agreement coming out of WWII (1945) to stabilize the
Created GATT, IMF, and the World Bank
GATT General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade. Revised
under the “Uruguay Round” in 1994.
IMF International Monetary Fund - lending and
“consulting” organization for member nations
World Bank Lending and “consulting” organization for
WTO Non-elected administration and dispute resolution
agency created by the Uruguay round of GATT
MAI Multilateral Agreement on Investment. Amendments
in 1996 to the IMF charter have essentially covered most of the issues
the MAI was to address.
OECD Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development
GATT General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade
Initiated after WWII and generally known as the Breton Woods Agreement
the most recent rounds of discussion are known as the “Uruguay Round”
ended in 1994 and became GATT as it is known today. “The Uruguay Round
puts into place comprehensive international rules about which policy
objectives so-called independent countries are permitted to pursue and
which means a country might use to obtain even GATT-legal objectives.
Currently more than 110 nations responsible for more than 4/5ths of
world trade have signed the agreement.
1. Established the World Trade Organization [WTO] as
the ruling body in international trade disputes.
2. GATT supercedes all national and regional law.
3. Provides nations and corporations the ability to
sue other nations for barriers to free trade. Examples of such barriers
may be government subsidies for industries, or to promote policy
4. Corporations must be given “national treatment,”
meaning corporations must receive the same treatment in bidding and
contracting regardless of national or local origin.
5. Includes non-tariff barriers as actionable. For
example, environmental and worker protection legislation. “Any nation,
state, or local standard that provides more protection than does a
specified industry-shaped international standard” must past WTO tests
to determine whether such standards are an illegal trade barrier.
(Nader and Wallach)
FTAA - Free Trade Act of the Americas (excluding Cuba)
- Extend NAFTA to the rest of the hemisphere(with the exception of Cuba)
- Replace the NAFTA panel with the WTO as overseer and enforcer
- Remove all barriers to trade (except free movement of workers and
population across national borders), including tariff and non-tariff
policies, services and intellectual property rights, and constitutions,
laws, regulations and policies.
- Extend the “national treatment” provisions of NAFTA
- Extend the “investor-to-state rights” of NAFTA
Where did this come from? The FTAA has been in secret
negotiations for seven years.
The constructors of this document have been the Trade Ministers of the
governments involved, and representatives of major corporations.
Neither the public nor government officials have seen this document -
including our senators and congress people.
President Bush is going to request “fast track” approval to push
through the FTAA. This means that when it comes to a vote, senators
must vote yea or no and have no input into the document. It is reported
that several other “attractive” pieces of legislation will most likely
be “bundled” with the FTAA to ensure its approval.
The Summit of the Americas voted to implement FTAA by 2005.
MAI Multilateral Agreement on Investment
- Focus is on international investment and ownership.
- Limits how and when nations, states and communities
could limit foreign investment and ownership.
- Requires “national treatment” for foreign investors
- Bans performance requirements such as employment,
- Allows investors to sue governments using the local
Sources for more information on GATT, NAFTA, FTAA, MAI, WTO etc:
Commission on Global Governance)
http://www.ifg.org (Intl. Forum
Public Citizen Global Trade Watch Unveiling