The Principle of National Treatment in International Economic Law
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The Principle of National Treatment in International Economic Law

Trade, Investment and Intellectual Property

Edited by Anselm Kamperman Sanders

The principle of national treatment, or the non-discrimination clause, is a principle that applies across many fields of international economic law. This book offers a unique horizontal examination of the principle as it applies within international trade law, international investment law, and intellectual property law. An invaluable conclusion draws together the common strands and highlights the variations in application between these fields.
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Chapter 1: The philosophy of non-discrimination in international trade regulation

Thomas Cottier and Lena Schneller


International economic law – much as public international law in general – is not a coherent corpus iuris; rather it is an agglomerate of a multitude of accepted instruments, most of them enshrined in treaty law, responding to claims and problems arising in history and contemporary challenges to international relations. This vast field encompasses a multitude of regulatory areas, ranging from the law of the sea and natural resources to the environment, investment, monetary affairs, development, international trade in agriculture, industrial products and services, to labour, health, culture and education, to name only the most prominent areas. They all imply their own philosophies and principles within the wide body of public international law. It is virtually impossible to depict international economic law within a straitjacket of uniform values, principles and rules beyond basic concepts of sovereign equality, non-intervention and the promotion and protection of human rights, all of which are at the heart of the United Nations Charter. Inevitably, choices need to be made. This chapter focuses on aspects of the law of international trade regulation, enshrined in the World Trade Organization (WTO). This body of law, comprising some 26,000 pages of treaty text, is based upon the principles of progressive liberalization of trade in goods and services; it subscribes to post World War II aspirations.

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