ABSTRACT

The United States is one of 23 charter members of the multilateral trade organization known as GATT, or the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, founded in 1948. Prior to the 1980s, the United States depended upon GATT for increased market access and resolution of trade disputes. During the second half of the 1980s, however, the United States began to move toward preferential bilateral or regional trading arrangements known as International Trade Agreements (ΓΓAs). ITAs provide for the elimination of tariff and nontariff barriers (import quotas and licenses) to trade. Investment laws, transportation regulations, and mechanisms for resolving trade disputes are often included.