The Multilateral Trading System:
50 years of achievement
The Uruguay Round, 1986-94: the last and biggest GATT round
In 1986, a GATT round was launched in a developing country for the first time. By now developing countries had become the majority in the GATT system, and in this round they were to play an unprecedented active role in the talks, alongside their more powerful fellow-participants.
In September 1986, trade ministers met in the Uruguay resort of Punta del Este (the meeting is pictured here). After a week of tough talking, they agreed to launch new negotiations. As in previous rounds, these took place mainly in Geneva.
The Uruguay Round turned out to be the longest, most complicated, and the last of the GATT rounds. It took seven and a half years to complete, and it led to the most fundamental reform of world trade rules since GATT itself was created in 1948.