Two Cheers For GATT

Policy Backgrounders | Trade

No. 135
Friday, November 25, 1994
by James Bovard


The hottest issue in national politics is the pending congressional debate over President Clinton's proposed legislation to implement a new General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT). The sharpest opposition to the treaty comes from those who fear that the new World Trade Organization (WTO) will violate national sovereignty. Their objections are based largely on a misunderstanding of the WTO and on a blindly progovernment conception of sovereignty that should have no place in a free society.

One purpose of the GATT is to limit the power of U.S. politicians over the choices of American consumers. The agreement seeks to protect trade from exploitative politicians and heavy-handed bureaucrats. Since the GATT must be ratified by politicians, it will certainly be far from perfect. Yet the real question is whether people will have more or less freedom with the GATT. The answer is, they will have more.

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