Guarantee of same trading opportunities (i.e., tariff concessions) already granted to the most favoured nation (MFN). It is a method of establishing equal trading opportunities among states by making originally bilateral agreements multilateral. Attempts to guarantee equal trading opportunities were incorporated into commercial treaties as far back as the early 17th century. The Anglo-French treaty signed in 1860 became the model for many later trade agreements, establishing a set of interlocking tariff concessions (see tariff) later extended worldwide by most-favoured-nation treatment. MFN treatment has always applied primarily to the duties charged on imports, but specific provisions have extended the principle to other areas of economic contact, including property rights, patents, and copyrights. See also General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade; reciprocity; World Trade Organization.
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