National treatment is a principle that says countries should treat imported goods, services and intellectual property (trademarks, copyrights and patents) the same way they treat their own. This helps create a level playing field in the marketplace by preventing domestic goods from having an unfair advantage.
The national treatment principle applies once the import tariff has been paid and the goods have entered the local market.
Members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) follow the principle of national treatment. This means Canadian entrepreneurs can sell goods in WTO member countries and have their products and services compete on a level playing field after all tariffs have been paid.