By  on May 13, 2008

1930: Smoot-Hawley Tariffs — President Herbert Hoover, who pledged during the 1928 presidential election to help beleaguered U.S. farmers by raising tariffs on agricultural imports, signed into law the Tariff Act of 1930, more commonly known as the Smoot-Hawley tariff. The legislation authorized the president to raise or lower a certain tariff rate by as much as 50 percent and established the highest level of tariffs in U.S. history.

1948: GATT — After World War II, many countries, including the U.S., made a commitment to trade liberalization and lowering trade barriers to foster peace and economic growth around the world. In 1947, 23 nations signed a comprehensive trade accord, known as the General Agreement on Tariffs & Trade, which established global rules for trade and kicked off several rounds of tariff reductions among the countries.

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