Sigma: Journal of Political and International Studies


Jake Berlin


tariffs, bilateral free-trade agreements, trade liberalization, world trade


Since the formation of the General Agreement on Trade and Tariffs (GATT) in 1947, world trade has increased exponentially, leading to unprecedented economic growth and prosperity throughout the world. The elimination of nontariff barriers (NTB’s) and the reduction of tariffs throughout the world have allowed world trade and wealth to flow effectively from one country to another guided by the “invisible hand” of economic liberalism. The Uruguay Round of GATT negotiations, which led to the creation of a formal World Trade Organization (WTO), was seen by many as evidence pointing to continued progress toward trade liberalization throughout the world. In contrast to previous decades, recent developments have stalled further rounds of negotiation at the WTO, casting doubt on the ability of the WTO to effectively continue the reduction of trade barriers.