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Consumer Policy (World Trade Organization)

In its original constellation as the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), the system for regulating world trade had little if any impact on the consumers of its own member states. The main objective of GATT was simply the reduction of protective trade tariffs. Although GATT may have impacted on the pricing of “foreign” products and services bought by consumers beyond their own domestic markets, the system it sustained did not require alterations in domestic product and product process regulation. Accordingly, consumer goods and services were fashioned by national regulation and thus remained identifiable “national” goods from distinct “national” producers. From the 1970s onward, however, intensification of domestic economic regulation, especially in the fields of health and safety and consumer and environmental protection, led ...

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