The General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade
GATT is a tool devised by the multi-national ‘economic giants’ and used by the WTO (World Trade Organisation) to force countries to accept imports, that they might otherwise not accept. For instance, if the UK wishes not to import a product, on the grounds that it involves cruelty to animals in its production or GM technology (for instance), the WTO could overrule the powers of the UK Government to refuse such imports. The same might apply to EU bans on certain products. It also becomes almost impossible to resist products that exploit human ‘slave labour’, because of the threat of international trade sanctions. This is a depressing piece of international ‘legislation’, engineered by big commerce.
Although governments are powerless, against this international legislation, it can be fought by ‘people power'. If a ‘cruel’, exploitative or environmentally-unsound product appears in the UK, by this route, it can be boycotted. People power exists, via spending habits. Research has to be carried out before buying goods, to ascertain their provenance. All that is necessary is time and effort in research and to put welfare (human and animal) and ecology above personal ‘material' or ‘consumer goods' desires, in your buying.
See also GATS