Essay about General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade in E-Commerce

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General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade in E-Commerce The US is seeking to extend the duty-free status of international online transactions to protect the development of global electronic commerce, the Clinton administration said yesterday. Susan Esserman, deputy US trade representative, said the US wanted the World Trade Organization to agree "at the earliest possible date" to extend the current moratorium on customs duties for electronic trade. In testimony to the Senate foreign relations sub-committee on Europe, Ms Esserman said duty-free cyberspace was particularly valuable to US software companies that were seeking to distribute their products electronically. The US is also looking for WTO members to affirm…show more content…
Although this tension is an old story, Zeiler takes it further and argues that the Commonwealth had 'a major hand in shaping the GATT order' (p.197). It is a complex story of negotiations taking place under conditions of extreme difficulty, and the author has worked diligently in the American, British and Commonwealth country archives. There is, however, a lot that raises the eyebrows of the economic historian. Within a few lines of the opening we read that, 'global business leaders ... seek a commercial regime unfettered by barriers'. This is rather the antithesis of the conventional understanding of businessmen almost invariably (and nowhere more so than in the US), seeking protection. And running against the conventional view (without seemingly noticing) is the idea that America is the home and inspiration of free trade. The British in the 1930s opted for, 'Regulated, rather than American style market, capitalism ... ' (p.20). Or again, 'Free trade frightened the British' (p.39). And richest of all, 'The British simply would not accept the free trade doctrine' (p.24). Zeiler suggests that free trade was key to the American economy ignoring the fact that America had been one of the most protectionist countries for most of its history. This is unfortunate and results in a distortion of the argument, for of the GATT negotiations Zeiler say s the British were not willing partners in pursuit of lower trade barriers. At certain times that may have been true
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