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World Trade Organisation

For your Final Project, you will submit a critical discussion and analysis of the proliferation of customs union and free trade areas among WTO Members and how this affects the MFN requirement. Below is the project question. The Sutherland Report observed that decades after the founding of the GATT, MFN is no longer the rule; it is almost the exception. Certainly, much trade between the major economies is still conducted on an MFN basis. However, what has been termed the spaghetti bowl of customs unions, common markets, regional and bilateral free trade areas, preferences and endless assortment of miscellaneous trade deals has almost reached the point where MFN treatment is exceptional treatment. Certainly the term might now be better defined as LFN, Least-Favoured-Nation treatment. (Peter D. Sutherland et al, The Future of the WTO: Addressing Institutional Challenges in the New Millennium, Report by the Consultative Board to the Director-General Supachai Panitchpakdi, Geneva: World Trade Organisation, (2004), p.19) Present a critical discussion and analysis regarding the validity of the quoted assertion in the Sutherland Report. The project must address the alleged proliferation of customs unions, common markets, and regional and bilateral free trade areas, their consistency with WTO law and assess their detrimental or beneficial effects on international trade in general and the MFN requirement in particular.