S-Space Graduate School of International Studies (국제대학원) Dept. of International Studies (국제학과) 국제지역연구 국제지역연구 vol.06 (1997)
최혜국대우와 상호주의: 상충적인가 보완적인가
Most-Favored Nation and Reciprocity in International Trade Relations: Complementary or Contradictory?
- Issue Date
- 서울대학교 국제지역원
- 국제지역연구, Vol.06 No.2, pp. 1-25
- The two core principles of the modern international trading system are the most-favored nation(MFN) treatment and reciprocity. They have been the constitutional foundation of the 19th century free trade order and the post-World War Ⅱ GATT system. The two principles, however, have inherently both complementary and contradictory relationships with each other. On the one hand, reciprocity tends to create trade discrimination which is contradictory to MFN, while MFN invites free-riding which is contrary to reciprocity. On the other hand, reciprocity complements MFN by limiting the degree of free-riding, while MFN mitigates the negative impact of reciprocity by preventing discriminatory trade practices. Thus the task of constituting an international free trade order depends on how to establish an appropriate combination of the two principles.
GATT combined the principles of MFN treatment and reciprocity within the context of a multilateral international institution. In the 19th century, the two principles were combined through bilateral agreements. The institutional combination of the two principles certainly contributed to the liberalization of international trade. The very weakness of GATT, however, could not keep the two principles from being contradictory rather than complementary. It was in this context that new protectionist, regionalist, and reciprocity movements became surgent in the 1980s.
The pursuit of new reciprocity can be very destructive without a strong multilateral institution. The establishment of WTO can be seen as a new adjustment in the relationship between MFN and reciprocity through strengthened multilateral rules. It is true that WTO has still mane shortcomings. Nevertheless, it is expected that WTO can provide an in treatment basis for promoting the complementarity of MFN and reciprocity in a new international trading environment.