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Environmental Protection versus Trade Liberalization : Finding the Balance

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Sandra L. Walker

II. An historical and institutional perspective on trade and environment

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A. GATT

The General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, the GATT, was created after the Second World War to avoid the neo-mercantilist or protectionist policies of the 1930s which many believed to be the cause of the war.18 Originally, it was the intent of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission, ECOSOC, to establish an International Trade Organization (ITO). Together with the two Bretton Woods institutions, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, the ITO was to govern the international economy. The negotiations of the draft Charter for the ITO consisted of three parts: the first concerned the institutional issues for the ITO, the second focussed on negotiating the reciprocal reduction of tariffs, and the third was concerned with the general clauses of obligations to protect tariff obligations from being undermined by other trade-restricting measures such as quotas and internal laws and regulations19. The second and third parts formed the basis of the General Agreem...

© Presses de l’Université Saint-Louis, 1993

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