The successful completion of the Uruguay Round of international trade negotiations in 1994 and the creation of the World Trade Organization (WTO) on January 1, 1995 marks an unprecedented expansion of the international law relating to international trade. The rules of international economic law now extend into many new substantive areas, such as services, intellectual property, and investment. In addition, the revamped binding international dispute resolution process administered by the WTO will create a lively new jurisprudence in this field.
Rarely has a move by the U.S. government to impose its political views on other countries' economies aroused as much anger as has the Cuban Liberty and Democratic Solidarity (Libertad) Act of 1996, widely known as the Helms-Burton Act. President Clinton originally opposed the Act, but signed it into law in March 1996, following the downing by the Cuban Air Force of two light planes flown by members of an anti-Castro organization based in the United States.
Before the end of President Clinton's term in office, Congress will debate in earnest China's application to join the World Trade Organization (WTO). Rhetoric in Congress during President Jiang Zemin's recent state visit tells us this debate may be highly contentious. The recent congressional defeat of the President's request for fast-track authority raised awareness in the international trade community that close attention must be paid to laying groundwork for critical national decisions on trade policy. It is not too early to address the new "China question."
NATO is preparing to interdict deliveries by sea of refined oil bound for Yugoslavia, as a means of ensuring that NATO's bombing of Serbian oil refineries will not be neutralized by the supply of refined oil from other sources. France and Italy have raised a question whether such interdiction at sea would violate international law.
The Codex Alimentarius (Codex) is a commission jointly sponsored by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO). Codex adopts standards that may be used by its 162 participating governments to develop national regulations. Codex is currently developing a variety of international standards for the trade of genetically modified food (GMF).(1)
In a long-awaited decision confronting the intersection of federalism and foreign relations, the Supreme Court has struck down a Massachusetts law restricting state purchases from companies doing business in Burma. The Court's June 19 ruling in Crosby v. National Foreign Trade Council was on narrow, non-constitutional grounds. Although the decision puts similar state and local anti-Burma measures at least temporarily on ice, it is unlikely to emerge as the final word on foreign policymaking by state and local actors.
On April 11, 2001 the US and the EU reached an agreement (the "Agreement") in the decade-long dispute over the EU's banana import regime. The Agreement requires the EU to abandon its proposal to institute on July 1 a "first-come-first-served" licensing regulation and to move in 2 stages to a tariff-only system by 2006.
Agriculture has traditionally been a primary source of economic tension between the United States and the European Union. The dispute over the EU's banana regime has been among the most contentious in recent years. It is also among the more legally and politically complex.