Due to the Great Depression, tariffs reached historic heights. Members of Congress have generally entered into informal quid-pro-quo agreements, in which they voted in favour of other members` preferential tariffs in order to gain the support of their members. No one took into account the overall toll for U.S. consumers or exporters. This practice is commonly referred to as logrolling. Roosevelt and key members of his government made sure to put an end to the practice.  The Reciprocal Trade Agreements Act was signed on June 12, 1934 as part of the Roosevelt administration`s efforts to pull America out of the Great Depression. RTAA has been an integral step in the U.S. transition from economic crisis to global leadership. The FDR considered that a full and sustainable recovery depended on strengthening international trade to increase domestic growth and demand. To ensure our country`s place in the global economy, the U.S.
President and Congress had to work together to negotiate trade agreements, reduce tariffs on goods and increase U.S. exports. Strengthening international trade fostered the growth aspects of the New Deal`s domestic programs, and the successful implementation of the RTAA resulted in the conclusion of 19 new trade agreements between 1934 and 1939, strong growth in U.S. exports and a recovery of the U.S. economy. With regard to the comparison between reciprocal agreements (EPA) and non-reciprocal agreements, these results show that the two models are positive in terms of exports from recipient countries to developed countries and that despite the estimate of the point for reciprocal agreements is greater than for non-reciprocal agreements, the difference between them is not statistically significant. However, with regard to exports from industrialized countries to recipient countries, the impact on non-reciprocal agreements is greater. After the civil war, Democrats were generally in favor of trade liberalization and Republicans in general favored higher tariffs. The model was clearly in the congressional votes on tariffs from 1860 to 1930. Democrats were the minority in Congress in the majority of Congresses between the Civil War and the election of Roosevelt. During their brief terms in the majority, Democrats passed several bills to reduce tariffs.
Examples include the Wilson-Gorman Act of 1894 and the Underwood Tariff Act of 1913. However, successive Republican majorities have always reversed unilateral tariff cuts.  Reciprocity was an important principle of trade agreements negotiated under the RTAA, as it encouraged Congress to reduce tariffs. As more and more foreign countries have entered into bilateral tariff reduction agreements with the United States, exporters have been more encouraged to promote Congress in favour of even lower tariffs in many sectors.  The U.S. State Department also found good use of free trade expansion after World War II. Many in the Department of Foreign Affairs saw multilateral trade agreements as a means of integrating the world in accordance with the Marshall Plan and the Monroe Doctrine. U.S. trade policy has become an integral part of U.S. foreign policy. This search for free trade as diplomacy intensified during the Cold War, when the United States competed with the Soviet Union for relations around the world.
 The most important instrument for "special and differentiated treatment" for developing countries was the Generalized Preference System (GSP), but there were many other non-reluctant preferential trade agreements (NRPs). Other non-reciprocal programmes include several EU and US initiatives (the GSP, the ACP-EU Partnership Agreement, the "all but arms" agreement, the Caribbean Basin Initiative, the Asian Preferences Act and the African Growth and Opportunity Act) or duty-free treatment by many other countries in the least developed countries or countries.