SOME BASIC INTERNATIONAL LAW CONCEPTS
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SOME BASIC INTERNATIONAL LAW CONCEPTS. The world trading system is based on international law, i.e. law regulating relationships among States State’s equality and sovereignty Customary law Treaty law Acts of international organisations. SOME BASIC INTERNATIONAL LAW CONCEPTS. Custom:

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SOME BASIC INTERNATIONAL LAW CONCEPTS

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Some basic international law concepts

SOME BASIC INTERNATIONAL LAW CONCEPTS

  • The world trading system is based on international law, i.e. law regulating relationships among States

  • State’s equality and sovereignty

  • Customary law

  • Treaty law

  • Acts of international organisations


Some basic international law concepts

SOME BASIC INTERNATIONAL LAW CONCEPTS

  • Custom:

    - non written

    - addressed to all States

    - made of practice and opinio juris

    - ex. prevention of environmental harm


Some basic international law concepts

SOME BASIC INTERNATIONAL LAW CONCEPTS

  • Treaty law

    - binding only upon contracting parties

    - difference between signature and ratification

    - it prevails upon customary law

    - GATT and WTO are examples of treaty law


Some basic international law concepts

SOME BASIC INTERNATIONAL LAW CONCEPTS

  • Acts of international organisations

    - IOs are created by a treaty among the parties wishing to join the IO

    - the IO can then emanate acts, binding upon members and subordinate to the establishing treaty

    - ex. the awards rendered by WTO judicial organs are acts of an IO


Some basic international law concepts

INTERNATIONAL TRADE TOOLS

  • Tariff obstacles (duties)

  • Non tariff obstacles (quota)

  • Tariff quota

  • Tariff can be ad valorem or on a specific basis

    - revenue for the State

    - protection of national industry


Some basic international law concepts

INTERNATIONAL TRADE TOOLS

  • Tariff binding

  • Tariff peak (industrial products)

  • Tariff escalation

  • Nuisance tariff


Some basic international law concepts

INTERNATIONAL TRADE TOOLS

  • Trade defence measures:

    - dumping

    - safeguard measure

    - anti-subsidy measure

  • Basic obligations:

    - most favourite nation clause

    - national treatment


Some basic international law concepts

HISTORICAL BACKGROUND

  • Classical liberalism

    -between industrial revolution (1750-1880) and WW1

    - States do not intervene in economic relationships

  • “friendship, navigation and trade” treaties based on MFN and NT

  • trade regulation only based on duty collection


Some basic international law concepts

HISTORICAL BACKGROUND

  • Protectionism (between WW1 and WW2)

  • State intervention in the economy to reconstruct and to face the crisis

  • trade wars and economic autarchy

  • duties, anticompetitive practices and beggar-thy- neighbour policies

  • bilateral treaties (quota)


Some basic international law concepts

HISTORICAL BACKGROUND

  • managed free trade (neoliberalism)

  • after WW2

  • economic freedom

  • set of rules guaranteed by States and IOs

  • delegation of power to IOs

  • erosion of domestic jurisdiction


Some basic international law concepts

THE BRETTON WOOD CONFERENCE

  • creation of the post-war economic order

  • complementing UN policy on peace and security

  • IMF = int’l monetary stability and BOP problems

  • IBRD (the WB group) = development projects

  • ITO = trade

    - UN Conference on trade and labor (1946-1948)


The world bank group

THE WORLD BANK GROUP

Int'l financing Corporation: loans to private firms

Int'l Development Agency: loands to LDCs (long term, low rates)

Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency : investment insurance

Int'l Centre for the settlement of investment disputes : arbitration procedure


Some basic international law concepts

THE ITO

  • ITO (not born) = trade regulation but also labour, competition etc

    - UN specialised agency

  • failure:

  • protectionism vs push for liberalisation

  • US vs UK

  • cold war

  • 1 State =1 vote


Some basic international law concepts

THE GATT

  • signed in Geneva in 1947 while the UN conference is still going on

  • tariff concessions

  • provisional

  • no institutional structure

  • weaker than the Avana Charter


Some basic international law concepts

THE GATT

  • lack of formal strength

  • based on “rounds”

  • tariff reduction vs technical obstacles

  • “genuine” technical standards vs protectionist ones

  • examples: procurement policies, subsidies, custom valuation methods


Some basic international law concepts

THE TOKYO ROUND AND THE SEVENTIES

  • TR focused on technical obstacles

  • GATT “à la carte”

  • confusion and free riding

  • The 70s: general recession and oil price shock

  • rise of Japan and NICs

  • protectionism and managed trade (MFA)


Some basic international law concepts

DCs, LDCs, …

  • difficult to distinguish different categories of countries according to dev’t level

  • DCs & LDCs

  • transition economies

  • NICs and big DCs

  • role of UNCTAD in GATT/WTO

  • trade as a tool for dev’t


Some basic international law concepts

The Uruguay Round and the Marrakesh Agreement

  • 1986- 1994

  • the transition from GATT to WTO

  • new subjects (services)

  • the single undertaking principle : end of free riding and unity of the system

  • plurilateral agreements


Some basic international law concepts

THE INSTITUTIONAL STRUCTURE

  • Traditional structure of IOs:

  • assembly or plenary

  • restricted organ

  • secretariat

  • WTO structure

  • Ministerial Conference

  • General Council

  • Secretariat


Uruguay round agreements

URUGUAY ROUND AGREEMENTS

http://www.wto.org/english/docs_e/legal_e/legal_e.htm


Some basic international law concepts

THE INSTITUTIONAL STRUCTURE

  • Ministerial Conference

  • all members

  • Ministerial rank of representatives

  • general competence

  • political guidelines about the development of the organisation

  • meets every 2 years


Some basic international law concepts

THE INSTITUTIONAL STRUCTURE

  • General Council

  • all members

  • diplomatic rank

  • implementation of the MC decisions

  • interpretation of WTO legal texts

  • meets whenever necessary

  • DSB and TPR boby


Some basic international law concepts

THE INSTITUTIONAL STRUCTURE

  • Secretariat :

    - carries out the TPRM

    - provides technical assistance

    - cannot accept instructions by States

    - chosen by the DG


The institutional structure

THE INSTITUTIONAL STRUCTURE

The Director General

- chosen by the General Council

- acts in its individual capacity

- responsible of the budget

- he represents the organisation in front of other States

- diplomatic role in negotiations


Some basic international law concepts

THE INSTITUTIONAL STRUCTURE

  • every agreement is managed by a Council

  • assessment of compliance

  • discussing future developments

  • GATT 1947 = GATT Council

  • SPS = SPS Council

  • but the GATT Council can intervene in other councils’ issues


Some basic international law concepts

THE INSTITUTIONAL STRUCTURE

  • lack of tranparency and civil society involvement

  • participation of DCs and LDCs

  • green room negotiations

  • consensus technique

  • non-trade issues

  • actually the real problem now is the lack of progressi in negotiations!


Some basic international law concepts

THE DOHA ROUND (2001 -???)

  • big momentum in 2001 vs economic crisis

  • industrial market access and agriculture big issues blocking other issues

  • proliferation of bilateral agreements and regional trading blocks

  • DSS prevailing over negotiations

  • protectionis moves (export bans, currency manipulation, import obstacles)


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