At the same time, 15 countries focused on negotiating a simple trade agreement. They agreed to remove trade restrictions on $10 billion or one-fifth of the world`s trade zone. A total of 23 countries signed the GATT agreement on 30 October 1947, paving the way for its implementation on 30 June 1948. 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. The WTO is trying to highlight this area through a policy of transparency and information, but also by restrictions on the use of non-tariff barriers. The GATT came into force on January 1, 1948. From the beginning, it was refined, which eventually led to the creation, on 1 January 1995, of the World Trade Organization (WTO), which absorbed and expanded it. To date, 125 nations signed its agreements, which covered about 90% of world trade. The third element of the GATT structure, which was later incorporated into the WTO, is an institutional presence maintained by the work of its secretariat. It is important that the Secretariat largely monitors the implementation of dispute resolution bodies that, in fact, define the mechanism for enforcing the rules of the trading system within the WTO system. These dispute resolution bodies have accelerated considerably in recent years and have culminated in decisions in a number of key areas, including banana trade (see THE WTO Director-General`s statement to the WTO General Council, 8 March 1999).
Unlike the ITO charter, the GATT did not need congressional approval. Technically, the GATT was a 1934 agreement, in accordance with the provisions of the U.S. Reciprocal Trade Act. It is the successor to the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), which was part of the Agreement on Health Protection and Plant Protection (SPS). It contains the fundamental principle that its requirements must be based on sound scientific knowledge, essential to avoid barriers to unfavourable trade, and provides that codex Alimentarius standards are fully taken into account. The SPS agreement applies to all relevant measures that could affect international trade and prohibits measures with an inconsistent or disguised protectionist effect, unless they are reasonable and based on sound scientific evidence. Article 5 clarifies this issue by providing that health and plant health measures must be based on a risk assessment, taking into account, in particular, internationally recognized assessment and control techniques. HACCP is such a technique applicable in the area of food security [Annex A (3) point a) ]. Following the UK`s vote to leave the European Union, proponents of leaving the European Union proposed that Article 24, paragraph 5B of the treaty could be used to maintain a “stalemate” in trade conditions between the UK and the EU if the UK left the EU without a trade deal, thereby preventing the imposition of tariffs.