The Uruguay Round was the 8th round of Multilateral Trade Negotiations (MTN) conducted within the framework of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), spanning from 1986 to 1994 and embracing 123 countries as "contracting parties". The negotiations and process ended with the signing of the Final Act of the Marrakesh Agreement in April 1994 at Marrakesh, Morocco. The round led to the creation of the World Trade Organization (WTO), with GATT remaining as an integral part of the WTO agreements. The Uruguay Round was, without a doubt, the largest trade negotiation ever, and may very well have been the largest negotiation ever. It set out rules and principles to cover all global trade, from banking to consumer products. The subjects for negotiations, the widest of any GATT round, were tariffs, non-tariff measures, tropical products as a priority area, natural resource-based products, textiles and clothing, agriculture, review of GATT articles, safeguards, Tokyo Round agreements ad arrangements, subsidies and countervailing measures, dispute settlement, trade-related aspects of intellectual property rights, trade-related investment measures and the Functioning of the GATT System (FOGS).

The main achievements of the Uruguay Round included:

1- a trade-weighted average tariff cut of 38%;

2- conclusion of the Agreement on Agriculture which brought agricultural trade for the first time under full GATT disciplines;

3- adoption of the General Agreement of trade in Services (GATS);

4- the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS);

5- the Agreement on Trade-Related Investment Measures (TRIMS);

6- the creation of unified and predictable dispute settlement mechanism (Dispute Settlement Body-DSB);

7- confirmation f the trade Policy Review Mechanism (TPRM);

8- the establishment of the WTO, which administers 15 multilateral, and four plurilateral trade agreements;

The Uruguay Round had extended considerably the realm of world trade rules with agreements on intellectual property and trade in services in ex-change for finally tackling agricultural protectionism on a broader scale and getting rid of the textile and clothing quotas.


Editor: Giovanni AVERSA

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