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General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (G.A.T.T.)


An agreement signed in 1947 by more than forty countries, to campaign against the imposition of tariff barriers and quota restrictions and progressively to p g countries. There are provisions to discourage blocs within the group and to insist on most-favoured-nation treatment for all members if for any. In many instances, governments are expected to ask permission before making drastic alterations to tariffs. As the Agreement is a gentleman's agreement, its provisions have no legal force, though there is not usually any advantage in flouting them. Since the mid-sixties attention has been drawn to the economic plight of developing nations, and these have been excluded from the part of the agreement relating to most-favoured-nation status. They can be given this status without obligation on the donor's part to give it generally. G.A.T.T. has been rather overshadowed in Western Europe by the growth of the common market.

Reference: The Penguin Business Dictionary, 3rd edt.