NAFTA Article 1105 and the Principles of International Economic Law

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Recognizing that it is common practice by international lawyers to cite the decisions of other international tribunals in support of their cases, this Article sets forth an analytical framework for doing so within the area of international economic law. For the purposes of the Article, international economic law is construed as the quasi-constitutional regulation of the actions of public authorities pursuant to obligations undertaken by States through treaty or custom. The Article explains how certain basic principles can be drawn from various sources of international economic law which would allow for different tribunals, interpreting similar provisions in different treaties, to arrive at a coherent conclusion. Using NAFTA Article 1105 as an example, the author demonstrates how this approach will provide clarity and certainty for the operation of what may seem to be amorphous treaty terms.