The Oxford Handbook of International Business

By Alan M. Rugman; Thomas L. Brewer | Go to book overview
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study might also require an analysis of topics in marketing and finance as well as business-government relations, in addition to strategy.

Multi-disciplinary studies will also be needed. They will need to draw upon central concepts of international law, such as right of entry and national treatment. They will need to draw upon political science studies of international regime change. They will need to draw upon economic studies of the macro-level and micro-level impacts of barriers to investment and trade in general and in particular industries. And of course such studies will need to incorporate concepts and information from industry studies and company studies in the business strategy literature.

In short, there is plenty of research to be done, and there are several bodies of literature to build upon. It thus seems likely that the multilateral regime for FDI and its implications for business strategy will become an increasingly salient topical focus in international business studies.


Appendix 11.1

WTO Principles

There are several core principles that pervade the WTO agreements. These include, in particular, two principles of nondiscrimination—national treatment (UNCTAD 1999a) and most favored nation treatment (UNCTAD 1999c). In the US, MFN is now sometimes technically referred to as 'normal trade relations', especially in regard to China's membership in the WTO.

National treatment, in relation to trade, refers to nondiscrimination against foreign-produced products, as for example through taxes or other regulations that put foreign-produced goods at a competitive disadvantage against similar domestically produced goods. In relation to FDI, national treatment refers to nondiscrimination against foreign-owned firms. For example, restrictions on the percentage of allowable foreign ownership of firms in a particular industry deny pre-establishment national treatment, and they thus limit foreign firms' right of establishment. According to some conventions of usage, it is important to note, the term national treatment is used specifically only in reference to post-establishment issues—that is, whether there is discrimination against a foreign-owned firm, for instance, through special regulations requiring a minimum number of local nationals on the board of directors. National treatment, as applied to investment issues, is thus an expansive and intrusive concept with sensitive implications within the domestic political system and economy of the host country.

The principle of national treatment only disallows discrimination against foreign products or firms. It does not require equal treatment, nor does it prohibit discrimination against domestic products or firms. In fact, subsidies granted by governments to foreign firms to encourage inward FDI are inherently discriminatory in favor of

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