Document Type

Occasional Paper

Publication Title

General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GAFF) and the World Trade Organisation (WTO): The Major Provisions and the Implication for Nigeria


This paper shall review the major provisions of the GATT with respect to the Multilateral Agreements on Trade in Goods only and the likely implications for Nigeria. The review of the General Agreement on Trade in Services and the Agreement on Trade - Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights shall be covered in another exercise. The rest of the paper is, therefore, organised into five parts. Part I discusses the GATT’s basic principles and the major agreements of the latest multilateral trade negotiations otherwise known as the Uruguay Round. The World Trade Organization, its major functions, structure and the decision-making process are discussed in Part II while the implications of the agreements for Nigeria come up in Part III. Part TV contains the options facing Nigeria as a developing country. Part V of the paper contains the summary and conclusions.

First Page


Last Page


Publication Date



The paper analyzes the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) and the World Trade Organization (WTO), focusing on the major provisions and implications for Nigeria. The paper provides an overview of the GATT's basic principles and the key agreements reached in the Uruguay Round, including those on agriculture, textiles and clothing, technical barriers to trade, and anti-dumping measures. It then discusses the functions, structure, and decision-making process of the WTO.

The paper examines the potential implications of the GATT for the Nigerian economy, including the possibility of losing trade preferences, reduced export earnings, higher food import costs, and lower government revenue. It also highlights the potential negative impact of extensive trade liberalization on the informal sector and acknowledges the challenges Nigeria faces in taking advantage of the benefits of globalization.

The paper proposes several measures that Nigeria can take to maximize the gains from its WTO membership, including diversifying exports, adopting appropriate macroeconomic policies, raising quality standards, removing constraints to agricultural output and non-oil mineral exports, complying with the provisions of GATT 1994, and disseminating information about the agreements.

The paper concludes that while Nigeria faces significant challenges in adapting to the new global trade environment, joining the WTO can ultimately benefit the country by promoting economic growth, development, and integration with the global economy. However, achieving these benefits will require significant effort and commitment from the Nigerian government and private sector.