The seventh GATT round (i.e., the Tokyo Round) was held during 1973-79. Ninety nine countries participated in this round and they accounted for 90% of world trade.
The significance of this round lies in the fact that apart from tariff reductions on manufacturers, it addressed to three other outstanding issues: (a) trade in agricultural goods (b) non-tariff barriers; and (c) the trade problems of the less developed countries. The results of the Tokyo Round may be summed up in the following way:
1. Liberalisation of Trade Barriers:
Like the previous rounds, the tariff concessions in the Tokyo Round were also substantial. The industrial countries agreed to further reduce the tariffs on manufactures, on an average, by one-third over the period of eight years.
2. Non-Tariff Barriers:
A major success of the Tokyo Round was in dealing with the non-tariff barriers. Codes of conduct were agreed upon in various areas: (a) government procurement; (b) customs valuation procedures; (c) technical regulations for safety, health, national security, the environment, etc; (d) government subsidies; (e) safeguards of ‘escape clause’ and (f) dumping.
The codes specify appropriate government policies and procedures and each code provides for a GAIT committee to help resolve international disputes in its representative area.
3. Trade Problem of Developing Countries:
The Tokyo Declaration has indicated that securing additional benefits for the developing countries is one of the major objectives of multilateral trade negotiations. It allows the GATT members to give preferential treatment to the developing countries (irrespective of MFN clause) in the following areas:
(i) Preferential tariff rates accorded by the developed to developing countries under the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP);
(ii) Differential and more favourable treatment to the developing countries in the area of non-tariff barriers;
(iii) Regional and global arrangements among developing countries; and
(iv) Special treatment for the least developed countries.
4. Trade in Agricultural Goods:
The Tokyo Round of multilateral negotiations was less successful in dealing with agriculture. However, certain tariff cuts were agreed upon.