The national treatment standard is perhaps the single most important standard of treatment enshrined in international investment agreements. At the same time, it is perhaps the most difficult standard to achieve, as it touches upon economically (and politically) sensitive issues. In fact, no single country has so far seen itself in a position to grant national treatment without qualifications, especially when it comes to the establishment of an investment. National treatment can be defined as a principle whereby a host country extends to foreign investors treatment that is at least as favourable as the treatment that it accords to national investors in like circumstances. In this way the national treatment standard seeks to ensure a degree of competitive equality between national and foreign investors.