Explanation and Interpretation of GATT National Treatment in the Light of DSB Practice

Document Type : academic


1 Assistant Professor of Law, Islamic Azad University, Urmia Branch

2 Assistant Professor, Department of Law, University of Isfahan


The national treatment commitment is one of the most important principles of the various WTO agreements, including the GATT. Nevertheless, the complexities of concluding international agreements have led to briefly codify article 3 of the GATT. The lack of definition and explanation of terms and concepts such as "similar product" and "directly competitive or substitutable product" along with the diversity of the issues referred to in various paragraphs has added to the ambiguity and generality of this article. While, the actual implementation of this commitment requires explicit, clear and complete regulations. Therefore, in the implementation of the GATT National treatment, the interpretation and explanation of Article 3 of the GATT will be essential.
Although the competent authority for interpreting the provisions of the WTO is another pillar, the role of DSB (Dispute Settlement Body) in clarifying these provisions including article 3 of GATT cannot be denied. Here, it has been tried to explain the national treatment contained in Article 3 of the GATT by resorting to different DSB reports, and to present the interpretations in a coherent manner. The Practical procedure of DSB also demonstrates the importance of the explanations and interpretations in the proper application of the GATT national treatment commitment.


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    ب. انگلیسی

    - Books

    • BERNARD M. Hoekman and Petros C. Mavroidis, The World Trade Organization, Law, Economics and Politics, Routledge, 2007.
    • Eric A. Posner & Jack. L Goldsmith, The Limits of International Law, Oxford University Press, 2005.
    • Van Den Bossche, Peter, The Law and Policy of the World Trade Organization; Text, Cases And Materials, Cambridge University Press, First Publication, 2007.


    - Articles

    • Boris Rigod, “The Purpose of the WTO Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS), EJIL, Vol.24, No.2, 2013
    • Donald H. Regan, “Regulatory purpose and like products in article III: 4 of GATT (with additional remarks on article II: 2, Journal of World Trade, 36(3), 2002
    • Peter M. Gerhart, Michael S. Baron, “Understanding national treatment: The participatory vision of the WTO”, Ind. int’l & comp. l. rev, vol.14: 3, 2004
    • Henrik Horn and Petros C. Mavroidis, “Still Hazy after All These Years: The Interpretation of National Treatment in the GATT/WTO Case-Law on Tax Discrimination, EJIL, Vol. 15, No.1, 2004
    • Krieger, Cameron R. & Robert E. Hudee, “Essays on the Nature of International Trade Law”, Chicago Journal of International Law: Vol. 1: No. 1, Article 24, 2000
    • Sherzod Shadikhodjaev, “National Treatment under GATT article III: 2 and its Applicability in the Context of Korea’s FTAs, Journal of International Economic Studies, vol.1, June 2008
    • Srinivasan TN, “Non-Discrimination in GATT/WTO: Was there anything to Begin with and is There Anything Left?, World Trade Review, 4, 1, 2005.
    • Stephanie Hartmann, “Comparing the national treatment obligation of the GATT and the TBT: Lessons learned from the EC-seal Products Dispute”, North Carolina Journal of International Law and Commercial Regulation, Vol. 40, No. 3, 2015.


    - DSB Decisions

    • Argentina-Measures Affecting the Export of Bovine Hides, and the Import of Finished Leather, Report of the Panel, WT/DS155/R, 19 December 2000.
    • Brazil-Measures Affecting Desiccated Coconut, Report of the Appellate Body, WT/DS22/AB/R, 21 February 1997.
    • Brazilian Internal Taxes, First Report Adopted by the Contracting Parties, GATT/CP.3/42-II/181, 30 June 1949.
    • Brazil-certain measures concerning taxation and charges, reports of the panel, WT/DS472/R, WT/DS497/R, 30 August 2017.
    • Chile-Taxes on Alcoholic Beverages, Report of the Appellate Body, WT/DS87/AB/R, WT/DS110/AB/R, 13 December 1999.
    • China-measures affecting imports of automobile parts, reports of the appellate body, WT/DS3339/AB/R, WT/DS340/AB/R, WT/DS342/AB/R, 15 December 2008.
    • Canada-Certain Measures Affecting the Automotive Industry, Report of the Panel, WT/DS139/R, WT/DS142/R, paras.10.80 and 10.84-10.85, 11 February 2000.
    • Canada-Certain Measures Affecting the Automotive in Industry, Appellate Body Report, WT/DS 139/AB/R, WT/DS/142/AB/R, 31 May 2000.
    • Canada-Certain Measures Concerning Periodicals, WT/DS31/AB/R, Appellate Body Report, 30 June 1997.
    • Canada-Measures Affecting the Export of Civilian Aircraft, Report of Panel, WT/DS 70/R, 14 April 1999.
    • European Economic Community-Restrictions on Imports of Desert Apples, Report of the Panel, L/6491- 36S/93, Adopted on 22 June 1989.
    • European Communities-Measures Affecting Asbestos and Asbestos Containing Products, Report of the Appellate Body, WT/DS135/AB/R, 12 March 2001.
    • European Communities-Measures Prohibiting the importation and Marketing of Seal Products, Reports of The Appellate Body, WT/DS400/ AB/R, WT/DS401/AB/R, 22 May 2014.



    • European Communities -Measures Prohibiting the Importation and Marketing of Seal Products, Reports of the Panel, WT/DS400/R, WT/DS401/R, 25 November 2013.
    • EC-Regulation on Imports of Parts and Components, Report by the Panel, L/6657-37S/132, Adopted on 16 May 1990.
    • EC-Bananas, Regime for the Importation, Sale and Distribution of Bananas, Appellate Body Report,WT/DS27/AB/R,9 September 1997
    • EEC-Measures on Animal Feed Proteins, BISD 25S/49.
    • Italian discrimination against imported agricultural machinery, L/833-7S/60, Report Adopted on 23 October 1958.
    • India-Measures Affecting the Automotive Sector, Report of the Panel, WT/DS146/R, WT/DS175/R, 21 December 2001.
    • Indonesia-Certain Measures Affecting the Automobile Industry, Report of Panel, WT/DS54/R, WT/DS55/R, WT/DS59/R, WT/DS64/R, 2 July, 1998
    • Japan-Taxes on Alcoholic Beverages, Report of Appellate Body, WT/DS8/AB/R, WT/DS10/AB/R, WT/DS11/AB/R, 4 October 1996.
    • Japan-Taxes on Alcoholic Beverages, Report of Panel, WT/DS8/R/DS10/ R/DS11/R, 11 July 1996.
    • Japan-Customs Duties, Taxes and Labeling Practices on Imported Wines and Alcoholic Beverages, L/6216-34S/83, Report of the Panel adopted on 10 November 1987.
    • Korea-Measures Affecting Imports of Fresh, Chilled and Frozen Beef, Report of the Appellate Body, WT/DS161/AB/R, WT/DS169/AB/R, 11 December 2000.
    • Philippines–Taxes on Distilled Spirits, reports of The Panel, Reports of The Panel, WT/DS396/R, WT/DS403/R, 15 August 2011.
    • United States-Standard for Reformulated and Conventional Gasoline, Report of the Appellate Body, WT/DS2/9/AB/R, Adopted 20 May 1996.
    • United States-Measures Affecting the Importation, Internal Sale and Use of Tobacco, Report of Panel, DS44/R, 4 October 1994.
    • United States-Taxes on Petroleum and Certain Imported Substances, Report of the Panel, L/6175 - 34s/136, Adopted on 17 June 1987.
    • United States-Definitive Safeguard Measures on Imports of Circular Welded Carbon Quality Line Pipe from Korea, appellate body report, WT/DS202/AB/R, 15 February 2002.


    -  Other Instruments

    • Genem Grossman, Henrik Horn and Petros C. Mavroidis, The Legal and Economic Principles of World Trade Law: National Treatment, IFN Working Paper No. 917, Research Institute of Industrial Economics, 2012
    • Report of the Working Party on Border Tax Adjustments, BISD 18S/97
    • World Trade Organization, The WTO Multilateral Trade Agreements, WTO E-Learning, 2010.