It was noted in Chapter 2 that more by circumstance than by design, the GAIT came to serve as the multilateral framework of international trade relations for nearly half a century. The circumstance was the failure of the United States to ratify the charter of the ITO that emerged from the Havana conference of 1947-1948. Although technically the GATT was not an organization but a multilateral agreement, and even its application was provisional throughout its existence, it nonetheless succeeded in substantially reducing barriers to world trade through eight successive rounds of MTNs held under its auspices. With the agreement reached at the conclusion of the UR, the eighth and the most ambitious of the rounds, a formal international organization, the World Trade Organization (WTO), came into being and subsumed the GATT. As of August 1,1995, there were 105 members and 46 observers in the WTO and 27 are in the process of negotiating their access. 1 Of the 105 members, 25 are low-income countries and 29 are lower-middle-income countries as per the World Bank classification. Indeed, a substantial majority of the members are developing countries.