Working Paper No. 657

National Treatment in the GATT

Published: January 9, 2006Pages: 40Keywords: National Treatment; GATT; WTO; Trade AgreementsJEL-codes: F13

National Treatment in the GATT Henrik Horn


The National Treatment clause (NT) is the first-line defense in the GATT (and in most other trade agreements) against opportunistic exploitation of the inevitable incompleteness of the agreement. This paper examines the role of NT as it applies to internal taxation under the GATT. It is shown that despite severely restricting the freedom to set internal taxes, NT may improve government welfare. But it will not completely solve the incomplete contract problem it is meant to remedy. Furthermore, it requires a high degree of economic sophistication on behalf of trade negotiators in order for this beneficial effect to materialize.

Henrik Horn

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Interdisciplinary European Studies

The European Union in a Changing World Order

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This book explores how the European Union responds to the ongoing challenges to the liberal international order. These challenges arise both within the EU itself and beyond its borders, and put into question the values of free trade and liberal democracy. 

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