- US and other members of the Group of Seven (G7) will revoke Russia’s “Permanent Normal Trade Relations (Pntr)” status to punish Russia for war over Ukraine.
- The move would pave the way for the US to impose tariffs on a wide range of Russian goods, heightening pressure on an economy on the brink of deep recession
- A recession is a period of declining economic performance across an entire economy that lasts for several months.
- The G7 is the group of developed western countries (UK, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the US) established in 1975.
- The status of Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR) is a legal designation in the United States for free trade with a foreign nation.
- In the United States, the name was changed from Most Favored Nation (MFN) to PNTR in 1998.
- World Trade Organization (WTO) members commit to treating other members equally so they can all benefit from each other’s lowest tariffs, highest import quotas and fewest trade barriers for goods and services.
- This principle of non-discrimination is known as Most Favoured Nation (MFN) treatment.
- This is one of the measures which ensures trade without discrimination. Another one is ‘National Treatment ‘.
- Article 1 of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), 1994, requires every WTO member country to accord MFN status to all other member countries.
- There are some exceptions, such as when members strike bilateral trade agreements or when members offer developing countries special access to their markets.
- For countries outside the WTO, such as Iran, North Korea, Syria or Belarus, WTO members can impose whatever trade measures they wish without flouting global trading rules.
- In international trade, MFN status (or treatment) is awarded by one nation to another.
- For example, India accorded MFN status to all WTO member countries, including Pakistan, from the date of entry into force of the so called Marrakesh Agreement, establishing the WTO.
- A nation with MFN status will not be discriminated against and will not be treated worse than any other nation with MFN status.
- Grant someone a special favour (such as a lower customs duty rate for one of their products) and you have to do the same for all other WTO members.
- There is no formal procedure for suspending MFN treatment and it is not clear whether members are obliged to inform the WTO if they do so.
- India suspended Pakistan’s MFN status in 2019 after a suicide attack by a Pakistan-based Islamist group killed 40 police. Pakistan never applied MFN status to India.
- It means treating foreigners and locals equally.
- Imported and locally-produced goods should be treated equally — at least after the foreign goods have entered the market.
- The same should apply to foreign and domestic services, and to foreign and local trademarks, copyrights and patents.
- This principle of “national treatment” is also found in all the three main WTO agreements (Article 3 of GATT, Article 17 of GATS and Article 3 of TRIPS).
- National treatment only applies once a product, service or item of intellectual property has entered the market.
- Therefore, charging customs duty on an import is not a violation of national treatment even if locally-produced products are not charged an equivalent tax.
SOURCE: THE HINDU,THE ECONOMIC TIMES,MINT