Set of multilateral trade agreements aimed at the abolition of quotas and the reduction of tariff duties among the signing nations. Originally signed by 23 countries at Geneva in 1947, GATT became the most effective instrument in the massive expansion of world trade in the later 20th century. By 1995, when GATT was replaced by the World Trade Organization (WTO), 125 nations had signed its agreements, which governed 90percnt of world trade. GATT's most important principle was trade without discrimination, in which member nations opened their markets equally to one another. Once a country and its largest trading partners agreed to reduce a tariff, that tariff cut was automatically extended to all GATT members. GATT also established uniform customs regulations and sought to eliminate import quotas. It sponsored many treaties that reduced tariffs, the last of which, signed in Uruguay in 1994, established the WTO.
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