Although Lowenfeld addresses a great number of areas coming under the general umbrella of international economic law, his work is not an exhaustive treatment of the entire subject. One need only look to the failed Ministerial Conferences in Seattle and Cancun , as well as the ongoing anti-globalisation protests, to grasp the profound importance of this issue. The book bristles with minute historical and legal detail, but at no stage does the content become tedious. Instead, its value lies in demonstrating the evolution of international economic law; in tracing the development of regulatory ideas and desires, placing them in their historical and political settings, and presenting the resulting international agreement. The book is divided into eight parts, only a few of which can, due to the constraints of space, be discussed in this review.
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Although Lowenfeld addresses a great number of areas coming under the general umbrella of international economic law, his work is not an exhaustive treatment of the entire subject.
One need only look to the failed Ministerial Conferences in Seattle and Cancun , as well as the ongoing anti-globalisation protests, to grasp the profound importance of this issue. The book bristles with minute historical and legal detail, but at no stage does the content become tedious. Instead, its value lies in demonstrating the evolution of international economic law; in tracing the development of regulatory ideas and desires, placing them in their historical and political settings, and presenting the resulting international agreement.
The book is divided into eight parts, only a few of which can, due to the constraints of space, be discussed in this review. Lowenfeld provides readers, many of whom will lack a background in economics, with enough information to grasp the underlying context and concepts of international economic law, without delving too deeply into technical detail that often alienates rather than enlightens the uninitiated.
Here Lowenfeld sets the stage for the coming chapters. He starts by presenting the basic and continuing assumptions underlying the GATT: that trade across national frontiers is to be encouraged and government intervention is to be limited. Recognising that these principles are often not determinative of outcomes, Lowenfeld also undertakes a brief analysis of their qualifications, including national security, the regime of general exceptions, and custom unions and free trade areas.
Lowenfeld then tracks the progress of trade negotiations through the Kennedy and Tokyo Rounds to the Uruguay Round. Lowenfeld does not downplay the importance of the Uruguay Round in broadening the scope of the rules and institutions of international trade law, and rightly so.
He states:. In some ways the conclusion of the Uruguay Round and the establishment of the World Trade Organization constitute a new start for the international law of international trade. However, faithful to his evolutionary approach to international economic law, Lowenfeld continues:.
But there is no doubt that the WTO is a continuation of the GATT system, a ratification and formalization of close to fifty years of development of rules of an institution — written and customary — and of attitudes of the participating states.
The reader is then presented with an insightful analysis of the achievements of the Uruguay Round. Some agreements, such as the Anti-Dumping Code and the Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures, are given brief treatment, to be expanded upon later in the book.
The TRIPs Agreement, probably more than any other trade agreement, demands sweeping changes and, in some cases, additions to domestic laws and regulations,  and has been the subject of persistent criticism on the basis of its alleged inimical effects on the economic and social interests of developing countries. Clearly, a reversion to unilateral retaliation will undermine the compulsory dispute settlement procedures established in the DSU.
After a concise and illuminating exposition of the operation of section remedies, Lowenfeld argues persuasively that the DSU has been successful in inducing state parties — most notably the US — to move from a unilateral to multilateral approach to the resolution of trade disputes.
Here Lowenfeld again displays his gift for presenting factually and legally complex issues clearly and elegantly. For Lowenfeld, whatever does not kill the DSU makes it stronger, and the fact that unilateralism in the bananas dispute was avoided is testimony to the substantial contribution made by the DSU to the compliance framework of international economic obligations. Lowenfeld deals in detail with the regulation of subsidies and countervailing measures chapter 9 and dumping and anti-dumping chapter Here, Lowenfeld takes a central theme — the responsibility of host states to foreign investors — and examines its position at customary international law, its treatment in domestic and international courts and tribunals, and the impact of case- and regional-specific agreements.
The underlying principles governing the international law of international investment are that aliens are entitled to at least equality of treatment with nationals of the host state, and that a state is obliged to pay compensation in the event of an expropriation of property belonging to an alien.
It is primarily the customary international law of state responsibility for expropriations that regulates the treatment of international investment, and it is in this area that Lowenfeld seems most at home.
Two obvious reasons come to mind. First, since the failure of the Cancun Ministerial, the US has vowed to move ahead in the direction of bilateral and regional trade agreements, and the EU has also considered giving greater priority to such arrangements. Lowenfeld does not enter the fray. Instead he presents the main provisions common to most investment agreements: obligations surrounding the admission of foreign investment; fair and equitable treatment; full protection and security; and compensation in the case of expropriation.
Lowenfeld helpfully examines the case law dealing with the concept of expropriation, the difference between expropriation and the mere exercise of regulatory or police powers, and the vexing issue of the amount of compensation due following an expropriation. Given the current fragmented state of the law,  it is understandable that Lowenfeld does not reach any firm conclusions on these questions, although his guidance and analysis of the jurisprudence is invaluable.
He writes:. This conclusion may be inconsistent with the traditional definition of customary law My suggestion is that perhaps the traditional definition of customary law is wrong, or at least in this area, incomplete.
International Economic Law is a valuable book. Its strength lies in its ability to present complicated and dense political, historical and legal detail in an informative and easily digestible form. This would be a shame.
International Economic Law
As a global organisation, we, like many others, recognize the significant threat posed by the coronavirus. During this time, we have made some of our learning resources freely accessible. Our distribution centres are open and orders can be placed online. Do be advised that shipments may be delayed due to extra safety precautions implemented at our centres and delays with local shipping carriers. This item is printed to order. Items which are printed to order are normally despatched and charged within days. As conflict and cooperation among states turn to an ever greater extent on economic issues, this fully updated and expanded second edition presents a comprehensive exploration of the legal foundations of the international economy.
Deakin Law Review
International Economic Law. Andreas F. As conflict and cooperation among states turn to an ever greater extent to economic issues, this fully updated and expanded second edition presents a comprehensive exploration of the legal foundations of the international economy. In it, Professor Andrews Lowenfeld examines the current status of the law, and explores the origins, political tensions and development of outcomes that are often difficult to comprehend. The book covers all the major elements of economic law in the international arena including the World Trade Organization and its antecedents; dumping, subsidies, and other devices that alter the market; the International Monetary System, including the collapse of the Bretton Woods system; the debt of developing countries; the law of foreign direct investment, including changing perceptions of the rights of host states and multinational enterprises; and economic sanctions. The book also contains chapters on competition law, environmental law, and new chapters on intellectual property and the various forms of arbitration; demonstrating how these subjects fit into the framework of international economic law.