So far, eight rounds of the multilateral trade negotiations have been held under the auspices of GATT. They are:
(i) Geneva negotiations, 1947;
(ii) Annecy negotiations, 1949;
(iii) Torque negotiations; 1950-51;
(iv) Geneva negotiations, 1955-56;
(v) Geneva negotiations (Dillon Round), 1959-62;
(vi) Geneva negotiations (Kennedy Round), 1963-67;
(vii) Geneva negotiations (Tokyo Round), 1973-79; (viii) Uruguay Round (1986-90)
The GATT rounds are logical extensions of the U.S.’s reciprocal trade agreements. The main difference between the two is that the GATT rounds are multilateral.
Whereas the earlier trade agreements were bilateral negotiations between the U.S. and a single foreign country. Since the MFN clause applies, a bilateral agreement also has direct multilateral consequences.
The first two GAIT rounds substantially lowered tariffs. The liberalisation achieved by GATT was relevant mainly to trade in manufactures between the industrial countries. The less developed countries generally continued to follow protectionist policies.
The next three rounds achieved only modest success because protectionist pressures began to mount.