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October 22, 2007


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Peter Gallagher

I've long believed that the Preamble to the GATT should get more attention. It reports, in two short paragraphs, pretty accurately what the Founders thought they were doing in the thirty-five Articles that follow.

Recognizing that their relations in the field of trade and economic endeavour should be conducted with a view to raising standards of living, ensuring full employment and a large and steadily growing volume of real income and effective demand, developing the full use of the resources of the world and expanding the production and exchange of goods,

Being desirous of contributing to these objectives by entering into reciprocal and mutually advantageous arrangements directed to the substantial reduction of tariffs and other barriers to trade and to the elimination of discriminatory treatment in international commerce,

Whether there was a 'shadow' fell between the idea and the reality (between the motion and the act) is another story.

Interesting, too, to compare this Preamble with that to the Marrakesh Agreement ("Establishing WTO") in 1994. Services is added. Phrases such as 'sustainable development' appear, as does the idea of 'developing countries' as a distinct group. But the other objectives are unchanged.
But otherwise

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