By: Alexa Busser
On February 25, 2019, the International Court of Justice (“ICJ”) issued an Advisory Opinion (Legal Consequences of the Separation of the Chagos Archipelago from Mauritius in 1965) that concluded that the United Kingdom’s (“UK”) decolonization of Mauritius in the mid-1960s and its continued administration of the Chagos Archipelago to this day contravene international law. The ICJ’s Advisory Opinion has potent legal implications for states that were, and continue to be, colonizing powers. However, perhaps more interesting from an international law perspective, are the jurisdictional question that the case presents and the ICJ’s willingness to weigh in, through a non-binding advisory opinion, on an issue that has the flavor of a bilateral dispute.
By: Alexander Bavis
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (“TCJA”) marked the most dramatic revision to the U.S. tax code in decades. Several TCJA provisions affected the U.S.’s international tax rules. However, none were more innovative than the Base Erosion and Anti-Abuse Tax (“BEAT”). The BEAT combats base erosion and profit shifting (“BEPS”), strategies employed by multinational corporations (“MNCs”) that shift profit from high to low tax jurisdictions to minimize global tax liability. Countries have traditionally controlled BEPS by amending their tax rules to eliminate the availability of specific practices and by monitoring transactions between an MNC’s international affiliates (“cross-border transactions”) to ensure they were made at arm’s length. Innovatively, the BEAT combats BEPS by requiring MNCs to recalculate their taxable income entirely excluding deductions from certain cross-border transactions historically associated with BEPS. If tax liability on this modified taxable income is greater than an MNC’s regular tax liability, the MNC must pay the difference. The U.S. is unlikely to face repercussions for the reasons discussed above.
By: Mayer Stein
In May 2018, President Trump withdrew the U.S. from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the landmark accord signed by Iran and the P5+1 (the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council and Germany). The JCPOA, a hallmark of the Obama Administration’s foreign policy agenda, imposed restrictions on the Iranian nuclear program in exchange for Iran’s re-entry into the international economy. Perhaps the most important concession granted to the Iranians in the JCPOA was the lifting of U.S. secondary sanctions. These sanctions prevented Iran from trading with much of the world out of fear of U.S. retaliation. When given the opportunity to trade with Iran or the U.S. almost any company would choose the U.S., which is the world’s largest economy. As a result, the lifting of sanctions provided a lifeline for the Iranian economy.
By: Benjamin Betik
Two years into his presidency, U.S. President Donald Trump is on the brink of implementing one of his trade proposals from his 2016 campaign, a tariff on imported auto vehicles. Under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act, the President has the authority to impose import restrictions on products following the submission of a report from the Department of Commerce affirming that the importation of those products “threaten[s] to impair national security.” The connection between national security and auto vehicle imports is tenuous.
By: Haley Flora
While once relegated to law schools and boardrooms, information privacy law has moved to the forefront of public interest in recent years. Current events, such as the Cambridge Analytica scandal, have left data subjects reeling from the realization of how their personal data is being misused.
By: Mark Pollak
Military alliances and economic unions around the world are crumbling. International organizations are being tested and are splintering as evidenced by the United Kingdom’s impending, messy divorce from the European Union (“EU”), and the threats that US President Trump’s “America First” outlook and Turkish President Erdoğan’s increasingly autocratic actions pose to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (“NATO”). Nationalism is on the rise with many nationalists promising to shift sovereignty back to national capitals and away from multinational alliances if, and when, they take power. In fact, many have suggested that the EU can only be saved if it shifts the balance of power back to the capitals of its Member States and grants member states enhanced control over the EU’s decision-making processes. The argument that a military alliance or economic union will be more successful if the decision-making process is decentralized and more sovereignty is preserved by member states is becoming increasingly popular. An interesting international organization for a case study is the Arab League, one of the oldest regional organizations in existence.