Since the conclusion of World War II
in 1945, international trade has been
greatly facilitated by agreement among
trading countries on a set of rules for international
trade, known as the General
Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT).
These rules were developed through a
series of eight “rounds” of international
trade negotiations between 1947 and
1994. Through these negotiations, export
subsidies were banned on everything
but agricultural products, and
import tariffs on manufactured goods
were reduced to inconsequential levels.
As a result, trade in manufactured
goods has grown rapidly, achieving an
unprecedented level of specialization
and exchange among countries.