The first attempt to promote free trade after World War II. The agreement came into effect on January 1, 1948. GATT created most-favored nation status among all the member countries, which said that any advantage, favor, privilege, or immunity granted to exports or imports going to one country in the group must be given to all of the countries in the group. GATT was the forerunner of the World Trade Organization (WTO), which continues to lobby for trade liberalization across many different product and services categories.
The original members of GATT were Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Burma, Canada, Ceylon, Chile, China, Cuba, the Czechoslovak Republic, France, India, Lebanon, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Pakistan, Southern Rhodesia, Syria, South Africa, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and the United States. The WTO has over 140 members.