The Value of MFN Treatment

35 Pages Posted: 11 Jun 2000 Last revised: 9 Oct 2010

See all articles by Madanmohan Ghosh

Madanmohan Ghosh

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Carlo Perroni

University of Warwick - Department of Economics; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

John Whalley

University of Western Ontario - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute); Centre for International Governance and Innovation (CIGI)

Date Written: March 1998

Abstract

We discuss most favoured nation (MFN) treatment in trade agreements, suggesting that its value to individual countries depends critically on the relevant model solution concept used to evaluate it. We analyze both rights to MFN treatment in foreign markets, and the obligation to grant MFN treatment in home markets; the heart of the post-war GATT/WTO multilateral trading system. In a traditional competitive equilibrium framework, MFN gives benefits to small countries in being able to free ride on bilateral tariff concessions exchanged between larger countries in GATT/WTO negotiating rounds. In a non-cooperative Nash equilibrium framework, MFN restrains retaliatory actions to be non-discriminatory. In a co-operative bargaining framework in which trade policies are jointly set, MFN changes the threat point and hence affects the bargaining solution. We use a calibrated numerical model of global trade in which we compute all three solution concepts and compare MFN and non MFN equilibria for each. We use the GTAP (1992) data base, concluding that quantitatively the most significant effect of MFN seems to be in its impact on bargaining rather than on competitive and Nash equilibrium solutions; being beneficial to smaller countries.

Suggested Citation

Ghosh, Madanmohan and Perroni, Carlo and Whalley, John, The Value of MFN Treatment (March 1998). NBER Working Paper No. w6461. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=226206

Carlo Perroni (Contact Author)

University of Warwick - Department of Economics ( email )

Coventry CV4 7AL
United Kingdom
44 24 7652 8416 (Phone)
44 24 7652 3032 (Fax)

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

John Whalley

University of Western Ontario - Department of Economics ( email )

London, Ontario N6A 5B8
Canada
519-661-3509, ext. 83509 (Phone)
519-661-3666 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.ssc.uwo.ca/economics/faculty/

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

HOME PAGE: http://www.CESifo.de

Centre for International Governance and Innovation (CIGI) ( email )

57 Erb Street West
Waterloo, Ontario N2L 6C2
Canada

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