The Uruguay Round of Trade Negotiations: An Overview

by Norman S. Fieleke
May/June 1995

On December 15, 1993, in Geneva, Switzerland, negotiators representing 117 countries reached consensus on the Final Act of the Uruguay Round, the most comprehensive international trade agreement in history. The Final Act prescribes, among other things, that tariffs on industrial products be reduced by an average of more than one-third, that trade in agricultural goods be progressively liberalized, and that a new body, the World Trade Organization, be established both to facilitate the implementation of multilateral trade agreements and to serve as a forum for future negotiations. The Final Act is a formidable document, entailing more than 26,000 pages of technical language and detail. The chief purpose of this article is to summarize and assess in nontechnical language the main results of the Uruguay Round as recorded in that Act. Some estimates of the consequences of the agreement for world trade and income are also presented.

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