The General Agreement On Tariff And Trade

The General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade came into force on 1 January 1948. This brochure contains the full text of the general agreement as well as all the amendments that have come into force since it came into force. The text is identical to that published since 1969 under the title Volume IV in the Basic Instruments and Selected Documents series. An appendix is a guide to the legal sources of the terms of the agreement. The secretariat establishes and publishes an analytical index containing comments on the development, interpretation and application of the articles of the agreement. A second publication completes the text of the agreements reached following the Tokyo round of multilateral trade negotiations (1973-1979). It is the successor to the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), which was part of the Agreement on Health Protection and Plant Protection (SPS). It contains the fundamental principle that its requirements must be based on sound scientific knowledge, essential to avoid barriers to unfavourable trade, and provides that codex Alimentarius standards are fully taken into account. The SPS agreement applies to all relevant measures that could affect international trade and prohibits measures with an inconsistent or disguised protectionist effect, unless they are reasonable and based on sound scientific evidence. Article 5 clarifies this issue by providing that health and plant health measures must be based on a risk assessment, taking into account, in particular, internationally recognized assessment and control techniques.

HACCP is such a technique applicable in the area of food security [Annex A (3) point a) ]. The third element of the GATT structure, which was later incorporated into the WTO, is an institutional presence maintained by the work of its secretariat. It is important that the Secretariat largely monitors the implementation of dispute resolution bodies that, in fact, define the mechanism for enforcing the rules of the trading system within the WTO system. These dispute resolution bodies have accelerated considerably in recent years and have culminated in decisions in a number of key areas, including banana trade (see THE WTO Director-General`s statement to the WTO General Council, 8 March 1999).