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“Enabling Clause” under GATT

Does the “Enabling Clause” under GATT legitimise actions taken by the developed countries that are in their favour?


The Most Favoured Nation clause which is contained under GATT Article I:1 denotes that countries cannot discriminate between other countries. It implies that any concessions that are given to one country must be afforded to all other WTO member countries as well. The enabling clause is seen as an exception to Article I:1 as it allows for certain favourable treatments to be granted to certain countries based on the Generalised System of Preferences. GSPs allow developing countries enhanced market access into a developed country which is done, as the name suggests, through a generalised, non-reciprocal and non-discriminatory system of preferences. It is intended to bring out faster development and economic growth in these beneficiaries (or developing/under-developed) countries.