At the end of 1993, when few were still confident of a positive outcome, the Uruguay Round of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) was finally concluded, even though the participating countries did not sign the final documents until 15 April 1994 at the Marrakesh Conference. The effective deadline, which had been set for 15 December 1993, was met only with extreme difficulty in an atmosphere characterized right up to the last minute by controversy. The final rush to conclude the negotiations was influenced by the imminent expiration of the ‘fast track’ authorization granted by the US Congress to the President.1 A similar deadline, originally fixed for the end of 1990, had already been missed, resulting in an extension of the ‘fast track’ authorization. But by the end of 1993 it appeared highly unlikely that the US Congress was willing to extend it again. Despite this and other incentives, three more years were needed in addition to the four originally allotted to complete the negotiations, an indication of the complexity of the negotiations and of the size of the obstacles that needed to be overcome to reach a satisfactory conclusion. During the entire period the deep and seemingly irreconcilable conflicts of interest over key areas of the negotiations put the Uruguay Round at risk of failure more than once.
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- Objectives and Results of the Uruguay Round
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