Import Quotas (West's Encyclopedia of American Law)
Import quotas are a form of protectionism. An import quota fixes the quantity of a particular good that foreign producers may bring into a country over a specific period, usually a year. The U.S. government imposes quotas to protect domestic industries from foreign competition. Import quotas are usually justified as a means of protecting workers who otherwise might be laid off. They also can raise prices for the consumer by reducing the amount of cheaper, foreign-made goods imported and thus reducing competition for domestic industries of the same goods.
The GENERAL AGREEMENT ON TARIFFS AND TRADE (GATT) (61 Stat. A3, T.I.A.S. No. 1700, 55 U.N.T.S. 187), which was opened for signatures on October 30, 1947, is the principal international multilateral agreement regulating world trade. GATT members were required to sign the Protocol of Provisions Application of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trades (61 Stat. A2051, T.I.A.S. No. 1700, 55 U.N.T.S. 308). The Protocol of Provisions set forth the rules governing GATT and it also governs import quotas. This agreement became effective January 1, 1948, and the United States is still bound by it. GATT has been renegotiated seven times since its inception; the most recent version became effective July 1, 1995, with 123 signatories.
Import quotas once played a much greater role in global trade, but the 1995 renegotiation of GATT has...
(The entire section is 660 words.)
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