What are the Major Issues and Negotiations of GATT?

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With the adoption of a ‘package approach,’ the Uruguay Round is the most complex, complicated and ambitious of any post-war multilateral negotiations on a plethora of issues. Initially, the Uruguay Round of Ministerial Declaration signed in September, 1988 contained a mandate for negotiations on a plethora of issues.

Initially, the Uruguay Round of Ministerial Declaration signed in September, 1988 contained a mandate for negotiations in 15 major areas: of which 14 areas relating to trade in goods, included in track meant for the group of negotiations on goods, and the 15th area pertaining to the liberalisation of services, included in track I meant for the group of negotiations on services, included on services. The groups and issues in the Uruguay Round are briefly narrated in.

A Trade Negotiations Committee (TNC) was formed to monitor the overall negotiations. The TNC was headed by two chairmen, one at the official level and the other at the ministerial level.

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Owing to disagreements of some member countries (especially, the USA and the EEC) on certain key issues like agriculture, the negotiations could not be completed within the scheduled time, i.e., by December, 1990.

The trade negotiations, therefore, resumed by the TNC, in February 1991 by regrouping the original fifteen areas into the following seven areas: (i) Market access, (ii) Agriculture, (iii) Textiles and clothing, (iv) GATT Rules including Trade Related Investment Measures (TRIMs), (v) Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPs); (vi) Trade in services, and (vii) Institutional matters.

Since January 1992, these negotiations were proceeded on a four-track approach. Track pertained to negotiations on market access concessions. Track II dealt with the initial commitments made in the area of services. Track III involved the legal conformity and internal consistency of the agreements and track IV was kept for the possibility of adjustments in the final draft.

1. Tariffs

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2.- Non-Tariff Measures

3. Natural Resource-Based Products

4. Textiles and Clothing

5. Agriculture

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6. Tropical Products

7. GATT Articles

8. MTN Agreements and Arrangements

9. Safeguards

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10. Subsidies and Countervailing Measures

11. Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPs), Including Trade in Counterfeit goods

12. Trade-Related Investment Measures (TRIMs)

13. Dispute Settlement

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14. Functioning of the GATT System

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