Havana Charter (formally the Final Act of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Employment) was the charter of the defunct International Trade Organization (ITO). It was signed by 53 countries on March 24, 1948. It allowed for international cooperation and rules against anti-competitive business practices. The charter never came into force, in part because in 1950 the United States government announced that it would not submit the treaty to the United States Senate for ratification. Because of the American rejection of the Charter, no other state ratified the treaty. Elements of the Charter would later become part of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT).
The Charter, proposed by John Maynard Keynes, was to establish the ITO and a financial institution called the International Clearing Union (ICU), and an international currency; the bancor. The Havana Charter institutions were to stabilize trade by encouraging nations to 'net zero,' with trade surplus and trade deficit both discouraged. This negative feedback was to be accomplished by allowing nations overdraft equal to half the average value of the country’s trade over the preceding five years, with interest charged on both surplus and deficit.
- Text of the Havana Charter - WTO official website
- Pages 5 and 6 of an economics paper
- Pages two and three of a paper concerning agricultural trade
- Page 1
- The WTO: An Historical, Legal, and Organizational Overview
- Can World Trade Ever Be Fair? by Susan George at CounterPunch.org
- Global Fracture a book by Michael Hudson that insightfully documents how developing countries have organized since the 1940s to restructure the global economic system, and failed every time.