Reciprocal Trade Agreements Purpose
At the end of the 20th century, the WTO was attacked by environmentalists, trade unions and proponents of sustainable development in many countries, because the organization was able to repeal national protection laws when they were seen as an obstacle to free trade, and because critics argued that the WTO was promoting an international economic system that favoured rich countries and large private companies at the expense of the poor. Ministerial conferences have often been the scene of open-air public events and clashes between the poorest third world countries and the most prosperous industrialized countries. Together with the major international credit agencies – the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund – the WTO has been forced to defend the impartiality of a policy to support global economic growth. Today is the 80th anniversary of the Reciprocal Trade Agreements Act (RTAA), a new approach to trade policy adopted by the New Deal Congress and signed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. RTAA was the first time that Congress and a president worked together to give trade bargaining powers, to help pass new trade agreements that would increase exports and encourage job creation. Through the RTAA, Congress defined the framework for international trade negotiations and authorized the President to play a U.S. leadership role in the international trading system. President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Reciprocal Trade Agreements Act (RTAA) in 1934. It gave the president the power to negotiate bilateral and reciprocal trade agreements with other countries and allowed Roosevelt to liberalize U.S. trade policy around the world. It is generally attributed that it sounded the era of liberal trade policy that continued during the 20th century.
 RTAA`s innovative approach freed Roosevelt and Congress from breaking this trend of tariff increases. It has linked U.S. tariff reductions to reciprocal tariff reductions with international partners. It also allowed Congress to approve tariffs by a simple majority, unlike the two-thirds majority needed for other contracts. In addition, the President had the power to negotiate the terms. The three innovations in trade policy have created the political will and feasibility of a more liberal trade policy.  In negotiating agreements under the RTAA, the United States has generally made direct concessions only to so-called primary suppliers, namely countries that were or are likely to become the main source or important source of supply for the product in question. The concessions were granted in exchange for opening foreign markets to U.S. exports. Under the leadership of the United States and the United Kingdom, international cooperation has flourished and concrete institutions have been created.
The discussions that began at the Bretton Woods Conference of 1944 were the International Monetary Fund. The first international trade agreement, the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), was established in 1949.