The General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) has objectives to:

  • build an international trading system that will ensure the orderly and equitable expansion of world trade and contribute to the prosperity of the United States;
  • reduce foreign export subsidies, tariffs and non-tariff barriers, and internal supports;
  • obtain commercially meaningful increases in access to markets of developing countries;
  • cut costs by 50 to 100 percent on important electronics items sold by major U.S. trading partners;
  • to significantly increase access to markets that represent approximately 85 percent of world trade in terms of reduced tariffs on specific items of key interest to U.S. exporters;
  • to strengthen and clarify rules for agricultural trade;
  • to reduce or eliminate the subsidization of agricultural production.

GATT and Small Business

For the United States, GATT represents the most monumental change ever in U.S. trade laws. One hundred twenty-four countries around the globe are participating in the GATT agreement. With tariffs and duties reduced by up to 38 percent on many goods and services, U.S. exports become significantly less expensive for foreigners to buy. With worldwide customers eager for American products and services and increasing competition for American consumers on the home front, in a short time most American businesses will find that they can no longer ignore the vast potential of selling in foreign markets. According to the Small Business Administration, over 90 percent of small businesses that have not exported could do so profitably today.

For more information, contact the Small Business Answer Desk at (202) 205-7717, or (800) 827-5722 or (202) 205-7701 for recorded information.