Free trade advocates believe that the unconditional clause of the MFN is the only practical way to achieve a gradual reduction in tariffs. Those who advocate protectionism strongly oppose it and prefer the conditional form of the clause or an equivalent mechanism. The United States has bilateral trade agreements with 12 other countries. Here is the list, the year it came into force and its implications: Uruguay Round negotiated the most ambitious trade liberalisation agreements in the history of the GATT. The global trade agreement adopted at the end of the cycle reduced tariffs on industrial products by an average of 40%, reduced agricultural subsidies and included innovative new trade agreements on services. The treaty also created a new and stronger global organization, the WTO, to monitor and regulate international trade. The GATT was put out of reach with the formal conclusion of the Uruguay Round on 15 April 1994. Its principles and the many trade agreements concluded under its aegis have been adopted by the WTO. GATT`s normal activity included negotiations on specific trade issues affecting certain commodity or trade nations, but major multilateral trade conferences were held regularly to develop tariff reductions and other issues. Seven such “towers” took place from 1947 to 1993, starting with those held in Geneva in 1947 (at the same time as the signing of the general agreement); 1949 in Annecy, France; to Torquay, Eng., 1951; Geneva in 1956 and again in 1960/62.
The most important cycles were the Kennedy Round (1964-1967), the Tokyo Round (1973-1979) and the Uruguay Round (1986-1994), all of which took place in Geneva. These agreements reduced average tariffs on the world`s industrial products from 40% of their market value in 1947 to less than 5% in 1993. Fourth, the agreement harmonizes rules, labour standards and environmental protection. Fewer regulations have the effect of a subsidy. It gives the country`s exporters a competitive advantage over their foreign competitors.