The term International Law was first used in 1780 and it was coined by
English philosopher, Jeremy Bentham. At times, it is even referred as public
international law or law of nations. It is the collection of rules by which the
relations and transactions between different countries are governed.
International Law has been there in existence since long time back but is
evolving with the time and is dynamic in nature. In today’s era, it is not just
described as some fixed set of rules, but is a wider concept, like the idea of
cosmopolitan society consisting of more realistic and sophisticated norms,
various practices and principles followed in various parts of the world.
It provides the world with the normative principles as well as with the modus
operandi, techniques and a common language for the international players. The
diversity of subjects and actors directly related with the international law has
widened substantially, moving beyond the typical matters of armed conflicts,
peace, and diplomacy to include human rights, economic activities, space law,
and international organizations, although it is defined as a legal order and not
an ethical one, it has been influenced significantly by ethical principles and
concerns, particularly in the realm of human rights.
The nature of international law, in contrast to the national law, is pretty
vague as it is not written anywhere and is not passed by any authority like the
laws passed by the parliament. It is only binding on those nations who accept
and ratify it hence, it can be concluded that it cannot be enforced on any
particular nations against its will. The prime objective of international law is
the maintenance of law and order all over the world and the attainment of
fundamental objectives of promoting peace, fraternity, prosperity, human rights,
trade and policies between nations and environmental challenges across the
Yet, it has been attacked several times for the promotion of hegemony of a
particular nation. It not only helps in the promotion of peace but even
facilitates for the easy transactions of trade between various countries. It
helps in the promotion of social, economic, and cultural development and even
helps in in advancing the security of nations. It has a major role to play, when
dispute arises between nation on several issues. It helps in the achievement of
global justice and resolves disputes between the nations in an amicable way.
International laws are basically framed by the international organisations and
the main reason behind the formation of these organisations is to set
international agendas, objectives, rules, etc. They look over the political,
social, economic and cultural issues that might affect the peace and prosperity
in the world. It is their duty to ensure equality to every other nation with
respect to its standing in the international organisations. It even regulates
the international trade and sets the policies accordingly, considering the
condition of every other nation.
Few of the examples of these organisations are:
Uniten Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), consisting of
approximately 190 members), is a permanent organ of the United Nations (UN)
General Assembly, which was established in 1964 for the promotion of
trade, investment, and development in various developing countries and its
headquarter is located in Geneva, Switzerland. Negotiations at UNCTAD’s meetings
resulted in the Global System of Trade Preferences (1988), an agreement that
reduced tariffs and removed or reduced nontariff trade barriers among
participating developing countries; the Common Fund for Commodities (1989), an
intergovernmental financial institution that provides assistance to developing
countries that are heavily dependent on commodity exports; and various
agreements for debt relief.
Lately, its efforts were directed towards the underdeveloped and developing
countries which were largely impacted by the globalization. It adopted various
measure to help the poorest of the nations and the developing countries to
integrate in the world economy and pace towards the development. Its policy
making bodies meet after every four years to set new guidelines and rectify the
policies accordingly. The Trade and Development Board is UNCTAD’s executive
body, that is looks after the working of the organization when the Conference is
not in session.
The World Trade Organisation was preceded by GATT and came into force on January
1, 1995. It is headquartered at Geneva in Switzerland. The current director
general of WTO is Roberto Azevedo and is also referred as the first officer of
the world trade organisation, responsible of the discretion of the
administrative operations. The World Trade Organization (WTO) is the only global
international organization dealing with the rules of trade between nations and
at its heart are the WTO agreements, negotiated and signed by the bulk of the
world’s trading nations and ratified in their parliaments.
Its aim is to help the seller and buyer to export and import the required goods
and services. It even provides easy ways for the producers to conduct their
business worldwide. It helps the government of different countries to sort out
the problem that they face while dealing with each other internationally.
The WTO agreements are pretty lengthy and complex because they are legal texts
covering wide range of activities and even a number of simple, fundamental
principles run throughout all of these documents, therefore, these principles
are the foundation of the multilateral trading system. All major decisions in
the world trade organisations are made by the members as a whole, represented by
either the head of the states or their representatives.
The policies framed by these organisations represent the standards, objectives,
rules and regulations that amounts to trade relations between different
countries. The aim behind the formulation of these policies is to boost the
trade between the countries and to ensure its easy practice.
It focuses on the greater integration of products across the globe and easy
imports and exports from one country to another. It regulates the imports and
exports of the country. These policies are specific to every individual country,
framed by the country’s public officials and at times they are employed to
promote and protect internal businesses.
On any ordinary day, you may wear a perfume produced in Persia, travel on a bus
manufactured in Germany, and talk to your friends on cell phones designed in the
United States and manufactured in China. Now the questions that arise are: how
did all of these products (things or materials manufactured, consumed, and
transported among various economies) reached in your city? If your answer is
international trade, then you totally are correct.
Majority of the goods and services (tangible and intangible) that we use in our
daily life are acquired primarily through trade with different countries.
However, international trade is not just governed by certain rules but also by
the international organizations and international agreements.
- Malcolm Shaw, Sir Robert Jennings “International Law”, University of
Leicester, England https://www.britannica.com Accessed: 10-01-2021.
- Karen Mingst, Professor Emeritus, University of Kentucky,
Lexington,” United Nations Conference on Trade and
Development”, international organization, https://www.britannica.com/ ,
- EVAN TARVER, Reviewed By ROBERT C. KELLY , "World Trade Organisation WTO” https://www.investopedia.com/.