Foreign Relations History News

By Susan Gualtier

indexThe Legal History Blog announced on Wednesday the unveiling of the new Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations (SHAFR) website.  The site contains a number of resources on researching and teaching the history of U.S. foreign relations, including links to the archives of a number of U.S. and international organizations and information on partner research organizations.

In a related post, the Legal History Blog highlighted a new article on legal and foreign relations history available on SSRN.  Legal History as Foreign Relations History, by Mary L. Dudziak, legal historian and professor at Emory University School of Law, discusses the importance of law in the study of foreign relations history.  The abstract is as follows:

This paper is for a leading work on the methodologies of foreign relations history.  Traditionally, diplomatic historians have been skeptical about law as a causal force in international relations, and have often ignored it.  Challenging that assumption, this essay shows that law is already present in aspects of foreign relations history scholarship.  Using human rights as an example, I explore the way periodization of legal histories is tied to assumptions and arguments about causality.  I illustrate the way law has worked as a tool in international affairs, and the way law makes an indelible mark, or acts as a legitimizing force, affecting what historical actors imagine to be possible.  Drawing from Robert Gordon’s influential work on the methodology of legal history, the essay shows the way law can help to constitute the social and political context within which international affairs are conducted.  I argue that the presence of law and lawyers in the history of U.S. foreign relations is too central to be ignored.

For a scholar without legal training, taking up law-related topics can pose special challenges.  This essay ends with a Legal History Survival Guide that includes advice about how to get started and how to avoid mistakes.

Legal History as Foreign Relations History will appear in the forthcoming publication, Explaining the History of American Foreign Relations, 3rd ed., Michael J. Hogan, Thomas G. Patterson, and Frank Costigliola, eds. (Cambridge University Press).

Global Practice Sources: Trade

By Neel Agrawal and Sarah Wolfson

Int Trade Practice1.  International Trade PracticeThis two volume source provides a general overview of international trade law and the most salient portions of international treaties. For example the source covers the U.S. escape clause within GATT that allows the U.S. to disregard elements of GATT under certain circumstances and implement temporary additional import taxes. This source also covers administrative and judicial challenges and issues in dealing with international trade disputes.

WTO2.  Law and Practice of the World Trade Organization This five volume source, published by Oceana, gives researchers a comprehensive understanding of international trade laws and issues within international trade. For example, the text includes an entire section on multilateral agreements on trade in goods, providing the relevant primary source materials and commentaries. The text also contains decisions from dispute settlement cases.

UNCITRAL3.  UNCITRAL 2012 Digest of Case Law on the Model Law on International Commercial Arbitration.   The United Nations Commission on International Trade Law publishes this digest of cases from jurisdictions that enacted the UNCITRAL Model Law on Commercial Arbitration. Each chapter corresponds to a specific area of the model law and cites the relevant case law, which is particularly useful to judges, arbitrators, practitioners, academics, and government officials. The purpose of this source is to assist in the dissemination of information on the model law and promote its adoption and uniform interpretation.

Tariff4.  Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United StatesPublished by the U.S. International Trade Commission and available both online and in print, the HTS provides a full schedule of tariffs levied on imports. The chapters are grouped by type of item, for example, chapter 3 includes fish, crustaceans, molluscs, and other aquatic invertebrates. Each type of item is further classified with an identification number composed of the chapter, section, and subsection. For example, fresh fish are identified with 0302, and specifically fresh albacore is identified with 0302.31. This invaluable source also notes the item quantity, the tariff per quantity, and any exemptions or special notes.

Index5.  WTO Analytical Index: Guide to WTO Law and PracticeThe WTO Analytical Index (3rd edition) is a two volume compendium of key materials from the WTO. Agreements include, for example, the Agreement on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures as well as Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights. The agreements are accompanied by annotations to panel reports and dispute settlement bodies. The Index also lists both GATT and WTO disputes by providing the full case title and citation. For national reports on trade policy of WTO Members, refer to the WTO Trade Policy Reviews.

Restatement6.  Restatement of the Law: the Foreign Relations Law of the United States.  Published by the American Law Institute (ALI), sections 801 through 812 encompass the law of international trade. Topics include most-favored-nation treatment, barriers to imports, subsidies and countervailing duties, dumping and antidumping duties, and export controls. Each section includes a summary of the law, a source note, commentary, and reporters’ notes. The Restatement cites to the relevant U.S. statutes, regulations, and treaties.