General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade was an endeavor that came out of the necessity to regulate the way in which trading is done throughout the world.
During certain junctures in time, countries would bulk up their tariffs and duties; in some instances, it was claimed as a way for the nation to increase revenue in order to keep them stable during trading, but on another level, it was also referred to as a way in which countries discouraged trading between with their nation and other nations.
The organization of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade was created in 1949, and it lasted up until 1993; remnants of the trade agreement that had been set in place with this organization were adopted under the World Trade Organization.
Under the World Trade Organization, the trade agreement that is in reference to the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade only pertains to merchandise movement between nations. There are various other agreements that have been put in place to deal with more specialized intellectual properties, and various other goods and services that can be acquired from one nation to the next.
What the current trade agreement does is it organizes that nations and has the work together to situate when and how they are going to trade. It is also an agreement that helps them decrease the tariffs that are placed on goods, in order to allow for easier and less expensive trading.
Improvements to the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade agreement are being done often, to improve trading conditions throughout the world.