Trade, Customs & Sanctions

International Law Section Policy

Below is a list of international policies adopted by the ABA House of Delegates. Please be advised that members must follow the policy procedure and usage guidelines outlined in the American Bar Association’s Constitution and Bylaws, Rules of Procedure of the House of Delegates. The specific procedures are available on the policy homepage.

Trade, Customs, Sanctions

Secured Transaction Reform in Developing Countries of International Trade.  Supports development and harmonization of international trade and commerce and the establishment of predictable systems of secured lending through the adoption of secured transactions reform in developing countries and encourages lawyers to support and participate in efforts to have secured transactions reform adopted in developing countries. 08/11

Copyright Clause of the U.S. Constitution.   Supports the principle that under the Copyright Clause of the Constitution of the United States (Article I, section 8, clause 8), Congress has the power to implement U.S. obligations under international copyright treaties by restoring copyrights in certain works of foreign origin that have gone into the public domain, and thereby to improve protection available abroad to holders of U.S. copyrights.  08/10

U.S. Copyright Act – First Sale Doctrine.  Urges courts to interpret the statutory first sale doctrine in Section 109(a) of the U.S. Copyright Act and the copyright owner’s importation right in Section 602(a) to exclude application of the first sale doctrine to the importation of goods embodying a copyrighted work that were not manufactured in the United States. 02/10

UN Rotterdam Rules . Urges the United States Senate to ratify the United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Carriage of Goods Wholly or Partly by Sea, also known as the “Rotterdam Rules.” 02/10

Liberalization of International Trade.  Supports the contribution that the negotiated liberalization of international trade in goods and services, through government-to-government trade agreements, makes to the spread of the Rule of Law, both at the state-to-state level and within participants’ domestic legal systems. 08/08

Liberalizing of Trade/Rule of Law. Endorses the liberalization of international trade in goods and services, through negotiating and implementing government-to-government trade agreements, as a factor contributing to the spread of the rule of law. 08/08

International Trade Commission Support of the Sunshine Act. Supports the International Trade Commission’s adoption of certain procedures relevant to its compliance with the Government in the Sunshine Act, 5 U.S.C § 552(b). 08/07.
Letter to U.S. International Trade Commission regarding the resolution. 10/07.

General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS). Supports the efforts of the U.S. Trade Representative to encourage the development of transparency disciplines on domestic regulation; and supports the U.S. Trade Representative’s participation in the development of additional disciplines on domestic regulation. 8/06 (02M113E) 2/02

Market Access for Lawyers. Support the proposals by the U.S. Trade Representative regarding access to foreign markets for U.S. lawyers through permanent establishments as expressed and incorporated in the ABA “Negotiation Proposals Regarding Foreign Market Access for U.S. Lawyers.” (02M113E) 2/02

Resources for Trade Functions. Urge the U.S. Congress to provide adequate resources to enable U.S. trade agencies to implement fully the requirements of U.S. trade laws, enforce vigorously the commitments made under international agreements to the U.S. by our trading partners to open their markets to our goods, services, investments and intellectual property, and further a “rule based” world trading system through diligent negotiations and active participation in multilateral organizations. (99M100) 2/99

Trade Sanctions. Recommend that the U.S. government seek the cooperation of like-minded foreign governments in devising and carrying out programs to constrain foreign trade and investment detrimental to shared U.S. national security and foreign policy objectives. Urge the U.S. to refrain from the adoption or maintenance of extraterritorial foreign trade control measures that do not conform to jurisdictional principles of international law as generally accepted by the international community and create the potential for conflicts with other nations. (98A300) 8/98

WTO Dispute Settlement – Private Counsel. Support the further development of the dispute settlement procedures in international trade matters created under the Uruguay Round Agreements establishing the WTO. Endorse procedures to assure all parties the right to be represented by cou7nsel of their selection. Urge the U.S. to support appropriate policies, rules and procedures to enable any party in a dispute subject to the WTO’s Dispute Settlement Understanding (DSU) to seek, employ and use counsel for participation on behalf of such party at all phases of the proceedings. 2/98

Pre- and Post-Employment Restrictions for Trade Officials. Oppose ethics-in-government rules that single out foreign policy or trade functions for special restrictive treatment; support repeal of 1995 amendments to 18 U.S.C. Section 207 and 19 U.S.C. Section 2171(b). U.S. laws should not disqualify any senior executive or judicial appointee based on prior representation of particular types of clients. 2/97

Fast Track Negotiating Authority. Supports renewal of fast track negotiating authority, which enables the President to negotiate trade agreements, not subject to amendment by Congress during the approval process. 2/97

Private Restraints Impeding U.S. Exports. U.S. government should continue to seek to eliminate private restraints that exclude U.S. exports from access to foreign markets through application of Antitrust law. Encourage the U.S. government to seek adoption and enforcement by foreign trading partners of competition laws that prohibit cartel behavior and monopolistic practices, to aid the efforts of U.S. firms to obtain relief under foreign antitrust laws, to enter into reciprocal investigation arrangements with foreign competition law enforcement agencies, to negotiate bilateral and multilateral arrangements to facilitate antitrust discovery rights for non-host country plaintiffs and for the enforcement of non-host country anti-trust judgments. Where inappropriate the U.S. should address market access barriers by other means. 2/95

NAFTA – Antitrust Provisions. Urge three signatory governments to work together to implement the competition and antitrust aspects of NAFTA with emphasis on identifying a barrier-free and distortion-free North America as a fundamental goal, enforcing national antitrust laws, prohibiting hard-core cartels, seeking a common approach to principles of comity, seeking convergence of antitrust procedures where feasible and efficient, cooperating in antitrust discovery and enforcement, addressing the interrelationship between the trade laws and antitrust laws, and considering the development of institutions for dispute resolution in competition matters. 8/94

Uruguay Round – Approval of Results. Urge U.S. approval and implementation of the agreements resulting from the Uruguay Round of Multilateral Trade negotiations and endorse the Uruguay Round of Understanding on Rules and Procedures and Procedures Governing the Settlement of Disputes and the Agreement Establishing the World Trade Organization. 2/94

Uruguay Round – Need to Conclude. Support the conclusion, without undue delay, of the Uruguay Round of multilateral trade negotiations. Urge the U.S. government to support the strengthening of existing GATT multilateral dispute resolution procedures. Support the establishment of an effective multilateral trade organization that would serve as the institutional framework for better implementation of the substantive rules resulting from the Uruguay Round. 8/93

International Trade Commission -- Collegiality. Urge International Trade Commission to expeditiously determine the extent to which the Government in the Sunshine Act permits ITC members to meet in a non-public manner prior to making determinations in matters assigned to the Commission under the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended; if necessary, support initiatives to clarify this issue by administrative, judicial or legislative means. 2/93

International Trade Commission. Urges that the Congress enact legislation which amends the Tariff Act of 1930 to clarify the Congressional intention that the members of the United States International Trade Commission meet in a nonpublic manner prior to decision for purposes of discussing the investigatory matters assigned to them under the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended. 2/93

NAFTA – General Support. Support efforts by the governments of Canada, Mexico and the U.S. to establish through NAFTA rules, procedures and institutions for the conduct of trade and other economic relations among the participating countries which are designed to provide transparency, predictability, fairness and due process. 2/93

Pacific Rim. Urge the United States to establish a task force to examine elements of a possible Pacific Rim Economic Agreement. Encourage existing economic associations in the region to examine the ways the Pacific Rim countries could enter into new more formal economic arrangements. Explore with Pacific Rim governments such possibilities, and begin formal negotiations on this topic in 1992. 2/91

Export Controls. Urge that export controls be administered according to generally recognized principles of international law and that the Export Administration Act be amended to ensure extra territorial enforcement is consistent with this approach. 8/83

Ex-Im Bank. Support extension of the charter of the Export-Import Bank of the United States through Sept. 30,1988. 4/83

ITC Proceedings -- Access to Confidential Information. Support amendment of the ITC's General Procedures for the Conduct of Investigations and of the Trade Agreement Act of 1979 to ensure that corporate counsel have the same right of access to confidential information under protective orders as do retained counsel. 8/82

Reform of GATT Dispute Settlement Procedures. Urge the U.S. Government to seek, during current multilateral trade negotiations in Geneva, reform of the procedures for resolving disputes between nations, emphasizing reliance on adjudication by an impartial panel and the importance of making decisions easily accessible to the public. 2/78

Reform of GATT Dispute Settlement Procedures. Support legislation any legislation relating to the renewal of the President’s international trade negotiating authority that includes improved domestic procedures to ensure an adequate opportunity to be heard for all interested parties in the trade negotiating process, and revision of international economic agreements, such as the GATT, to improve institutions and procedures for the peaceful resolution of disputes and for the conduct of trade and economic relations. 2/74

Public Input on Trade Negotiations. Support improved domestic procedures to ensure an adequate opportunity for all interested parties to be heard in trade negotiating practice and related actions. 2/74

Customs Court Structure. Recommend specific changes to be made to the U.S. Customs Court. Decisions should be made within a reasonable period of time after entry, the administrative process should be completed by the issuance of a final decision by customs officers, the importer should have the right to judicial review. A separate judicial review of contested appraisement of imported merchandise prior to final administrative determination of classification and other matters should be abolished. Recommend provision for trials and decisions by a single judge in all but exceptional cases. 8/69

Resolution of Customs Disputes. Recommend consolidated administrative procedures for resolution of objections to customs decisions, all such decisions being made within a reasonable period of time, and judicial review permissible only following notice of a final decision by customs officers. 8/69

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