The purpose of this article is to argue that the multilateral framework offered by the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) is preferable to alternative approaches to the creation of international institutions for promoting world trade. Multilateral economic arrangements such as the GATT have as their object and purpose a vision of a peaceful world. But such a vision has not been exploited to mobilize domestic and international consensus on negotiated agreements. If the institutional objective of the GATT is seen as a contribution to world peace, a smoothly functioning world trade regime becomes a means to an end rather than merely an end in itself. To provide operational force to this institutional objective, we examine critically the historical origins, intent, and purpose of the GATT arrangement, focusing particularly on its "peace-keeping" goals. We argue that "non-substantive" concepts—such as good faith, sympathetic consideration, reasonableness, best efforts and the like which play an important and constructive role in the coordination of domestic markets—are also important in promoting the coordination and peace-keeping goals of the GATT. This article is organized into four parts. In Part II, we describe and document the contribution of the GATT to world trade, highlighting (a) the peace-keeping role, and (b) forces tending to undermine that role. Part III discusses the implications of such alternatives to the GATT system as regional and bilateral arrangements. Part IV develops the concept of non-substantive clauses, particularly the concept of good faith as a mechanism for assuring compliance with international institutions in the context of the vision of a peaceful world offered by the GATT multilateral process. Conclusions are presented in Part V.
Fred O. Boadu and E. Wesley F. Peterson,
Multilateral Agreements and Visions of the World,
71 Neb. L. Rev.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.unl.edu/nlr/vol71/iss2/5