Monday, August 31, 2009

China Rubber Industry Association is Against 55 Percent U.S. Taxes on Chinese Tires - An "Op Ed" on Section 421

We received the following "Op-Ed" from the China Rubber Industry Association.  As it discusses a new trade law, we thought it would be of interest to our colleagues teaching international business and trade law courses.  


President Obama’s First Choice On China

Will President Obama maintain his liberal posture on relations with China, fostering increasing cooperation and guaranteeing American-made products and services further access to China’s soon-to-be largest consumer market in the world, or will narrow, shortsighted and protectionist special interests redefine the Administration’s “China policy” moving forward?  Soon, we’ll know.

President Obama must choose between a narrow special interest (the United Steel Workers Union) and continued strong US-Sino relations, at a time when both countries have pledged their collaboration in response to the global economic crisis. The union, under Section 421, a law that has never before been invoked, has asked the Administration to impose extreme tariffs of at least 55-percent on imported Chinese tires. President Obama must personally make the final decision on this matter by late September.

Not a single US tire manufacturer has joined the union in their Section 421 efforts. In fact, the union makes no claim of unfair or illegal behavior by China’s tire makers, at least not in legal filings before the International Trade Commission. The USW simply demands the White House restrict trade because they believe “organized labor” now has an ally in the Oval Office who will support them regardless of the legitimacy of this particular claim or its potential outcomes.  We [the China Rubber Industry Association] hope the USW is wrong.

This attempt seems aimed at forcing the White House to redefine its China strategy into a policy of confrontation instead of cooperation. Rejection of the 421 petition will send a strong signal that President Obama is committed to the balanced and cooperative approach necessary to keep the US and world economies growing—something that is front-of-mind for all American workers, consumers and job-creators.

We [the China Rubber Industry Association] urge President Obama to make a principled choice to reject this restrictive effort to subvert trade law and make China a scapegoat. China had no part in the process that led US tire manufacturers to decide over a decade ago to stop manufacturing entry-level tires in the US. These same companies have made clear that they still have no plans to manufacture entry-level tires in the US. Their decision to abandon entry-level manufacturing allowed others from around the world to fill this void.

Most importantly, it is well-known that China’s entry-level tire imports simply don’t compete with US-produced premium tires. Sales of US-produced premium tires is affected by the woes of American automakers and recent high gas prices, not imports of entry-level tires from China, Mexico, South Korea or anywhere else.

The “USW tariff” will amount to a protectionist “zero quota” and would drive up all tire prices. Morgan Stanley recently stated that, “a tire consumer may not be able to accept further price increases.” This is the first protectionist action aimed at a product that is widely used by individual consumers. President Obama’s rejection of this bid will protect American families. A price increase on entry-level tires will hit low-income families hardest. These families might even defer replacing worn tires – not a good thing for highway safety.

According to the International Trade Commission’s report to the President, the “USW tariff” will likely not have the intended effect of adding a single USW job; however, independent studies suggest that 25,000 other American workers will be victimized by losing their jobs as a direct result of this politically-motivated and ill-conceived attempt to manipulate US-China relations.

President Obama affirmed at the G-20 summit that the last thing the world needs is a rise in protectionism. Now is the time for the President to make a clear statement that the world can depend on strong bilateral trading relations between the world’s two most important economies and on deepening cooperation between the two countries on a wide range of global issues.

If the President invokes the 421 law, a flood of additional protectionist petitions is sure to follow from other special interest groups. This will only serve to further complicate and degrade US-China relations, threatening cooperation and putting the world’s economic recovery at risk. Instead of this dark and uncertain future, we urge President Obama to reject the USW’s 421 petition. By doing so, the President will affirm the need for strong relations between our two countries and ensure a strong global recovery from the recent financial crisis that will be the by-product of US-China cooperation.

We in China look to President Obama for his international leadership. His pending Section 421 decision will indicate the type of leader he wants to be.

 China Rubber Industry Association 

 Kinglong International B 5 Floor, Fu Lin Road 9, Chao Yang District, Beijing 100107 China


August 31, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Forced Vaccinations of Female Immigrants Violates International Law

Elizabeth Sheyn has written a new article entitled An Accidental Violation: How Required Gardasil Vaccinations for Female Immigrants to the United States Contravene International Law, that is forthcoming in the Nebraska Law Review.  The article is available on SSRN:

This article provides an overview of the development and use of the Gardasil vaccine, examines, from an international law perspective, the problems raised by the requirement that all female immigrants between the ages of 11 and 26 who are seeking permanent resident status receive Gardasil vaccinations, and argues that the Gardasil vaccine must be reclassified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ('CDC'), or, more correctly, by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices ('ACIP'), so that the vaccine stops being a mandatory part of female immigrants’ process of obtaining permanent residency (and naturalization) status.

Hat tip to Elizabeth Sheyn


August 31, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Prof. Cindy Buys on Intlawgrrls!

Buys, Cindy My co-editor, Professor Cindy Buys at Southern Illinois University School of Law, was a guest blogger this week on Intlawgrrls.  Click here to read more.  In her guest post on Intlawgrrls, Cindy posits a way forward respecting U.S. obligations under international law in light of recent cases before the U.S. Supreme Court and the International Court of Justice on the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations. Another topic of current research is linkage between the ICJ Nottebohm Case (Liechtenstein v. Guatemala) (1953) and the World War II-era U.S. detention program in Latin America.


August 30, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Iranian Nobel Laureate Shirin Ebadi Will Deliver Keynote Address to Open Scholars at Risk, Ireland Section

Sinead O’Gorman, Deputy Director of Scholars at Risk, informs us of an event in Dublin, Ireland to launch Scholars at Risk, Ireland Section. The event will be held at Trinity College Dublin on Tuesday, September 22, 2009 at 4.30 p.m. Nobel Peace Prize laureate and Iranian human rights lawyer Dr. Shirin Ebadi will deliver a keynote address.

Scholars at Risk, Ireland Section will be a partnership between Universities Ireland, an umbrella body established by the nine universities on the island of Ireland to promote co-operation and collaboration among universities in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, and Scholars at Risk, an international network of higher education institutions committed to promoting academic freedom and to defending the human rights of scholars worldwide.

In joining Scholars at Risk, Irish universities, academic leadership and staff are sending a strong message of solidarity with scholars and universities in situations where academic freedom is restricted and research, publication, teaching and learning are repressed.  Together with Scholars at Risk members around the world, they really will make a difference. 

Registration for the event is now open.  Click here for more information about the event and the organization.

Hat tip to Sinead O’Gorman at New York University


August 30, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, August 29, 2009

2010 Jessup International Moot Court Rules Available NOW

The International Law Students Association (ILSA) has just released the rules for the 2010 Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition.  Among the changes are a new rule on the consequences of plagiarism in a memorial, and a rule that sets a disqualification date if a team's memorial is more than two weeks late.  Click here for more information about the new Jessup rules.  ILSA has also extended the deadline for early Jessup registration to September 18, 2009.  

Mark E. Wojcik

Member of the Board of the International Law Students Association

August 29, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

American Branch of the Intenational Law Association (ABILA)

The American Branch (sometimes called the "AmBranch") of the International Law Association (ABILA) has a number of committees that do important work for the organization.  One of those committees is the Committee on the Teaching of International Law.  I've recently been named chair of that ABILA committee.  We've just published a committee newsletter for members of the committee.  If you recently joined ABILA and its committee on Teaching International Law, please send me a message and I will send you a copy of the newsletter.

Click here for more information about the American Branch of the International Law Association.  That link now has the link to register for the International Law Weekend (ILW) in New York.

Click here for a list of ABILA Committees.

Click here for more information on the ABILA Committee on the Teaching of International Law.

Mark E. Wojcik

Chair, ABILA Committee on the Teaching of International Law

August 29, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Illinois Legal Research

Illinois Legal Research 2d ed It's not an international law text, but it may nonetheless be of interest to some of our blog readers. Here's a link with information about the new second edition of Illinois Legal Research, published by Carolina Academic Press.  The link also has information on state-specific research guides for other U.S. states.

Law professors who teach legal writing and research can order a free review copy of the book.  If you're not a professor but want to order the book, the Carolina Academic Press website is now offering a discount on the book (which is very reasonably priced by the way, unlike the international law text we discussed here in an earlier post).


August 27, 2009 in Books | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Call for Papers - Global Legal Skills Conference V - Monterrey Mexico Feb. 25-27, 2010

Click here for the call for papers for the fifth Global Legal Skills Conference, which will be held February 25-27, 2010 in Mexico at the Facultad Libre de Derecho de Monterrey.   Download Global_Legal_Skills_Conference_V_CFP

Click here for more information and a link to a video about the Global Legal Skills Conference.


August 26, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

U.S. Ratification of CEDAW

The United Nations Association of the United States of America (UNA-USA) is promoting a day of advocacy today (August 26, 2009) to urge the United States to ratify the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). UNA-USA notes that CEDAW has been ratified by 186 countries, including every democracy in the world, except the United States. The treaty provides a global standard for women's rights, but that the United States is unable to credibly demand that governments abide by their treaty commitments as long as it refuses to ratify CEDAW. Ratification of CEDAW would help strengthen America's voice in support of international human rights and women's equality.

If you are in the United States, you can pick up the phone and call your U.S. Senators today (Wednesday, August 26, 2009) and urge them to support U.S. ratification of CEDAW.  (If you don't see this message until Thursday or Friday, you can still pick up the phone!) 


August 25, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Women's Sufferage Anniversary

August 26, 2009 is the 89th anniversary of the Nineteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution giving women the right to vote.  Many of my students find it hard to believe that women in the United States have had the right to vote for less than 100 years.  I encourage readers of this blog to take action in support of womens' rights on this anniversary, perhaps by encouraging the United States to ratify the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).  CEDAW sets standards for womens' rights against which government actions can be measured and governments may be held accountable. Of particular relevance on this anniversary, Article 7 of CEDAW requires that women be afforded the right to vote on an equal basis with men.  Over 90% of the States in the world have aleady joined CEDAW.  U.S. ratification would send a signal that the United States is commirted to support for womens' rights worldwide. 


August 25, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Welcomes Appointment of Special Prosecutor to Investigate CIA Officers and Private Contractors

We received the following press release from the United Nations.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, has welcomed the decision by the United States Attorney-General to appoint a special prosecutor to look into whether Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) officers and contractors broke US laws while conducting interrogations outside the US, including at Guantanamo Bay.  

“I warmly welcome this responsible decision by the US Government to open a preliminary investigation,” Ms. Pillay said. “I hope there is a swift examination of the various allegations of abuse made by former and current detainees in Guantanamo and other US-run prisons, and if they are verified, that the next steps will involve accountability for anyone who has violated the law.”

Ms. Pillay said her concern all along “has been that there should not be impunity for torture or any other unlawful treatment of detainees, whether it is in the United States or anywhere else in the world. While we now have some idea of what occurred in Guantanamo, and to a lesser extent places like Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq and Bagram airbase in Afghanistan, we still need more transparency about secret places of detention, and what went on in them.”

Ms. Pillay said that the use of secret places of detention must be curbed, and called for the release of the names of detainees currently held in these detention centres. “Secrecy has been a major part of the problem with this type of detention regime,” she said. “When guards and interrogators think they are safe from outside scrutiny, and legal safeguards are circumvented, laws become all too easy to ignore.”  

The High Commissioner also praised the decision to release Mohammed Jawad, an Afghan who was taken prisoner in 2002 when he may only have been 12 years old. Most of the charges against him were ruled inadmissible in 2008, and last month a US District Court ordered his release from Guantanamo.  

“I am delighted to hear that on Monday Mohammed Jawad was allowed to return to his family in Afghanistan,” Ms. Pillay said. “It has taken an extraordinarily long time, but the US justice system – once it was able to operate properly in his case – has, I believe, finally delivered justice.”  

However, she added that “in Jawad’s case and those of other people held in detention for unacceptably long periods, without any charges being proven, or who were tortured or otherwise treated unlawfully, compensation and other remedies are essential. Some people have lost seven years of their lives, and may have been severely psychologically, physically or financially scarred by their experience, simply because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

Ms. Pillay reiterated her support for US President Barack Obama’s commitment to close the Guantanamo camp by 2010 and asked him to urgently review the status of detainees at the Bagram facility in Afghanistan.

August 25, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, August 24, 2009

It Is Time for the United States to Join the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea

Ship As many readers of this blog are probably aware, the United States is in the minority of countries that have not ratified the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea Treaty (UNCLOS).  In May of this year, the Obama Administration announced that ratification of UNCLOS is among its top treaty priorities.


UNCLOS is designed to facilitate international communication, promote peaceful uses of the seas and the equitable and efficient allocation of its resources, as well as the conservation and preservation of the marine environment.  To these ends, UNCLOS sets forth international standards for fishing, deep seabed mining, navigation, access to underwater resources, and scientific cooperation.  As of this writing, there are 159 parties to UNCLOS.


UNCLOS enjoys broad bi-partisan support including both former U.S. Presidents Bush and Clinton, the U.S. military, many business interests including the mining, fishing, shipping, and telecommunications industries, and environmental groups.


Opponents of the treaty argue that joining UNCLOS will diminish U.S. sovereignty and control by reducing U.S. freedom of action and subjecting the U.S. to international bodies -- arguments that could be made about virtually any treaty and that do not address the merits of UNCLOS.  Joining UNCLOS will bring many benefits, including securing navigation and overflight rights for the U.S. military; ensuring U.S. control over natural resources in its territorial seas, exclusive economic zone (the largest in the world) and continental shelf; opening up deep seabed mining to participation by U.S. companies; increasing support for and adherence to environmental protections found in the treaty; and clarifying rules for the Arctic regions.   And while UNCLOS does create international bodies, such as the Deep Seabed Authority, at least U.S. ratification will give the United States a seat at the table when the parties make and refine the international rules governing management of the sea and its resources.  


The potential gains to be achieved by membership in UNCLOS far outweigh any possible concerns.  It is time for the United States to ratify UNCLOS.


August 24, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Call for Papers: National Law School of India Review

India The National Law School of India Review (NLSIR) is the flagship journal of the National Law School of India University, Bangalore. The NLSIR is a peer-reviewed journal published twice a year. The latest issue - Volume 21(1) - included contributions from Justice S.B. Sinha, Judge of the Supreme Court of India; Mr. Hans Koechler, Professor of Philosophy and International Observer at the Lockerbie trials; Mr. Arvind Datar, Senior Counsel, Mr. Geoffrey Loomer, Said Business School, Oxford, and others. Details are available at Volume 21(2) -- a symposium issue focussing on arbitration -- is scheduled for publication in the coming month.
The NLSIR is now accepting submissions for Volume 22(1). The issue will be published in early 2010. Submissions may be made as Long Articles, Essays or Comments; on any legal topic of interest to an international readership. Submissions may be made to mail.nlsir [at] and queries regarding submission or subscription information may be made at the same email address.
Hat tip to Mihir Naniwadekar

August 22, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Almost 150 Nations Have Now Ratified the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty

Liberia became the 149th country to ratify the United Nations-backed Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty.  Liberia's ratification brings the total number of nations to almost 150.  It also means that the CTBT has 51 signatures and 37 ratifications of the 53 countries on the African continent, where the African Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty (also known as the Treaty of Pelindaba) went into effect last month.  


To date, 181 nations have signed the CTBT, which the U.N. General Assembly adopted in September 1996. 


The CTBT hopes to ban any nuclear-test explosions anywhere in the world.  The CTBT will enter into force 180 days after all 44 of the States listed in Annex 2 of the Treaty have ratified it. Those 44 nations were those that had nuclear weapons or nuclear weapons technology when the CTBT was opened for signature in 1996.  So far, 35 of these nations, including France, Russia and the United Kingdom, have ratified it the CTBT, but nations that have not yet ratified include the People’s Republic of China, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), the United States, and Iran.  


U.S. President Barack Obama is scheduled to chair a meeting of the Security Council in September, focusing on nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, including the CTBT.  



August 20, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Legal Educator Blog Census

Miller, Colin Who's blogging now?  My colleague Colin Miller at The John Marshall Law School in Chicago has compiled a "Legal Educator Blog Census" that tells us "which legal educators are blogging and where the blogosphere is headed."  He plans to update the list annually and hopes it will assist professors and other scholars in their work. 

Click here for the list of law schools A-M

Click here for the list of law schools N-Z

In case you're wondering, the two law schools associated with the largest number of law professor blogs are the American University Washington College of Law and The John Marshall Law School in Chicago. 

Hat tip to Colin Miller (and his wife Zoe, who helped him prepare the census).


August 19, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Arbitration Commission Issues Award in Ethiopia-Eritrea Border Dispute

Frontpermanentcourtarbitration An ad hoc international arbitral commission issued its final damages award on Monday in a border dispute between Ethiopia and Eritrea, splitting damages between the two countries for violations of international law committed by each of them during a 1998-2000 conflict between them. The Eritrea-Ethiopia Claims Commission was established pursuant to Article 5 of the Agreement signed in Algiers on December 12, 2000 between the Governments of the State of Eritrea and the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia (the “December Agreement”) and operated under the auspices of the Permanent Court of Arbitration at the Hague.   The 5-member Commission was established to “decide through binding arbitration all claims for loss, damage or injury by one Government against the other” related to the 1998-2000 conflict between them that “result from violations of international humanitarian law, including the 1949 Geneva Conventions, or other violations of international law,”  The Commission held multiple hearings between 2001 and 2008 and issued several partial rulings dealing with issues of diplomatic immunity and treatment of prisoners of war and civilians.  According to the Commission, the armed conflict between the two parties caused serious injury and damage to the people and infrastructure of these two countries.  In addition to specific liability findings, the Commission awarded total monetary compensation in the amount of US$161,455,000 to Eritrea in respect of its own claims, as well as US$2,065,865 for individual claimants.  The total monetary compensation awarded to Ethiopia in respect of its claims was US$174,036,520. The Commission recognized that the damages awards are probably less than what the Parties believe they are due because the Commission took into account the fact  that the Parties are among the poorest on earth and the difficult economic conditions in the affected areas.


August 19, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

China to Appeal WTO Ruling on Entertainment Imports

WTO 80 percentThe China People's Republic of China announced that it would appeal a World Trade Organization ruling which ordered China to ease restrictions on imports of movies, music, and books.  China presently allows such imports but only if the foreign media distributes its products through companies owned by the Chinese government.  The WTO ruling (which we reported on here) said that China should allow foreign media companies to distribute master copies of publications and movies directly under the same conditions as Chinese companies.

Under the WTO rules, China has two months to file its appeal.  Yao Jian, a Chinese government spokesman who announced that China would file the appeal, did not indicate what substantive arguments China would make in its appeal.  Click here for more information.


August 18, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, August 17, 2009

Fiji to Recruit Judges from Sri Lanka

Fiji is a nation troubled by a military ruler who fired all of the judges in the country and suspended the Fijian constitution as an "emergency" measure after a court ruled that the military government there was illegal.  Since then there have been severe crackdowns on lawyers, the press, and even on internet usage.

A new press report is stating that Fiji will now look to Sri Lanka to supply it with some judges, at least on a temporary basis.  Click here to read more.


August 17, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Call for Papers -- Global Legal Skills Conference V -- Monterrey, Mexico

GLSIII - Group The fifth Global Legal Skills Conference will be held in Monterrey Mexico from February 25-27, 2010 at the Facultad Libre de Derecho de Monterrey.

This is the most important conference for law professors and others interested in international legal education, legal English, and skills education. 

The call for papers, panels, and presentations (in English or Spanish) is open until September 25, 2009.  Click here to watch a seven-minute video about why you should attend the conference.  There is also a link on that page to the submission form for proposals.

See you in Monterrey!


August 16, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

ICC Grants Conditional Release to War Crime Defendant

International Criminal Court Logo The International Criminal Court granted the request of Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo for a conditional release until the start of his trial for war crimes and crimes against humanity.  Mr. Bemba, the former vice-president of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, faces charges for alleged crimes committed in the Central African Republic between October 2002 and March 2003, including rape, murder and pillaging. He will be released once the conditions for his release have been set and the ICC dertemines which country will take him in until his trial.  The trial will take place at the ICC Building in The Hague.

The ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo stated that he would appeal the decision to grant Mr. Bemba conditional release. 


August 16, 2009 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)