Most nations have adopted the nation`s most preferred principle when setting tariffs, which has largely replaced quotas. Tariffs (preferably quotas, but still an obstacle to trade) have in turn been constantly reduced in successive rounds of negotiations. There is a second form of promise that the GATT countries are keeping and that is harmonized. These commitments imply acceptance of certain principles of conduct in international trade policy. Here too, there are two types of promises: the first relates to fundamental principles of non-discrimination and the second contains acceptable exceptions to those principles. 2) National treatment: the treatment of foreigners and indigenous peoples imported and locally produced goods should be treated in the same way at least after foreign goods enter the market. The same should be true for foreign and domestic services, as well as foreign and local trademarks, copyrights and patents. This principle of national treatment (for others the same treatment as its own nationals) is also reflected in the three main WTO agreements (Article 3 of the GATT, Article 17 of the GATS and Article 3 of the TRIPS Agreement), although the principle is again treated differently in each of these agreements. Given that the original signatory countries expected the agreement to be part of the ITO`s more sustainable charter, the GATT text contains only a very weak “institutional” structure. This lack of detail within the agreement has created increasing difficulties, as GATT membership and trade rules between so many nations of the world have increased.
GATT has been operating as an international organization for many years, although it has never been formalized as such. GATT members agree to engage in regular negotiations on a mutually beneficial reciprocal basis to reduce the overall level of tariffs. States Parties should meet and negotiate regularly to remove trade barriers on a multilateral basis, in accordance with an amendment and review dating back to 1954. Given the unanted creation of the International Trade Organization, the regularity of the negotiations has not been established. Exceptions to the principle of non-discrimination: some exceptions to this rule are, however, accepted. There is no objection to the creation of free trade zones or customs unions. Such integration should facilitate the coherence of trade between the constituent territories. They should not create barriers to trade for other parties. The GATT allows its members to take action to combat dumping and export subsidies. However, such measures should only be applied to insulting countries.
At the time of the introduction of the GATT, tariffs were the main form of trade defence and negotiations in the early years focused mainly on duty and tariff reduction. The text of the 1947 GATT defines the obligations of the contracting parties in this area. As tariffs have decreased, non-tariff barriers (NTBs) have attracted increasing attention, as they are as distorting trade as flat-rate tariffs. Non-tariff barriers consist of a series of rules, standards, standards, technical issues, administrative and bureaucratic procedures and other market-related barriers faced by exporters while trying to access a given market.