This Article will first examine the relevant WTO provisions that permit free-trade agreements as exceptions to MFN treatment. It will then situate current U.S. policy in the context of the history and purpose of those provisions. Next, the discussion of history and purpose will take up a key debate in the original GATT negotiations, in which the United States championed MFN treatment, while European countries, in particular, Great Britain, sought to retain preferential trading arrangements-arrangements once associated with the rubric of "imperial preference." Against this background, the article will explore the question of whether current U.S. policy represents a reversion to preferential trading arrangements which can be understood by analogy to "imperial preference." Finally, the article will consider the implications of the phenomena of free-trade areas and agreements for the WTO and the agreements administered by it, as well as for the United States.
Sydney M. Cone III,
The Promotion of Free-Trade Areas Viewed in Terms of Most-Favored-Nation Treatment and "Imperial Preference",
Mich. J. Int'l L.
Available at: http://repository.law.umich.edu/mjil/vol26/iss2/1