Volume 9, Issue 1 (Spring/Summer 2004)

This volume contains two articles and one comment on current international and comparative law issues. Available online at HeinOnline, Westlaw, or LexisNexis.

Human Rights and Trade: Inconsistent Application of Treaty Law in the United States. 9 UCLA J. Int’l L. & For. Aff. 1

Over the past sixty years a dichotomy has developed in the United States’ involvement in international agreements, subjecting treaties based on economic concerns to a different ratification mechanism than those relating to human rights abuses. That dichotomy has resulted from actions by all three branches of the federal government that increasingly place greater emphasis on business interests over protection of individual rights – often under the guise of federalism concerns and foreign policy preemption. The emphasis placed on economic treaties at the expense of human rights initiatives is contributing to the deterioration of the United States’ role as the promoter of human rights. This article assesses the effect of the increasing gap between the protection of investor interests and human rights, and suggests that international human rights and trade agreements should be subject to the same procedures for ratification. It is clear in this age of globalization that human rights are important to the international community and thus an essential component of effective US foreign policy. To continue on the present path will only worsen the gap between the enforcement of economic interests and human rights and subject the United States government to increasing charges of duplicity, both domestically and internationally.

Choice of Law Considerations in the Validity & Enforcement of International Forum Selection Agreements: Whose Law Applies? 9 UCLA J . Int’ l L . & For . Aff. 43

The last three decades have witnessed a sea change in the willingness of courts, both here and abroad, to enforce non-arbitration forum selection agreements (FSAs) in international contracts. This Article analyzes one particular uncertainty that nonetheless continues to inhibit the use of FSAs in international contracts, but which remains largely undiscussed by both academic commentators and courts: the question of which law should govern the validity and enforceability of an international FSA. The Article adopts a comparative research framework to analyze and critique the tendency of courts in the United States and the European Union to reflexively apply forum law to govern FSA validity and enforceability. The Article argues that the law that the parties have explicitly or implicitly chosen to govern their jurisdictional agreement should govern international FSAs.

COMMENT: Russia in the WTO: How Russia’s Institutional Idiosyncrasies May Impede Its Ability to Abide by the WTO’s Governing Cornerstones. 9 UCLA J . Int’ l L . & For . Aff. 97

According to neo-liberal economic theory, an international trading system operating according to market principles should facilitate interdependence among its member-states. In turn, this interdependence should increase the likelihood of international stability. Thus, it is notable that a country with Russia’s strategic importance re- mains outside the WTO, the embodiment of the liberal trading regime. Russia’s current dependence on natural resources, its difficulty finding export markets, and the impracticability of the import substitution model suggest that Russia would benefit from entry into the WTO. Once Russia completes its negotiations and accedes around 2006, Russia’s institutional characteristics (state influence on the economy, underdeveloped rule of law, atomistic center-periphery relations, and the continuance of a trade-diverting foreign policy) are likely to com- plicate its ability to abide by the WTO cornerstones that are designed to facilitate successful economic integration. Although the likely con- cessions in Russia’s WTO accession process are unlikely to overcome the political barriers to induce immediate changes in these institutions, the behavioral requirements of WTO membership may create the conditions necessary to induce change in an admitted Russia.

Available online at HeinOnline, Westlaw, or LexisNexis.

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