G.A. Zaphiriou

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The United Nations General Assembly adopted the Charter of Economic Rights and Duties of States (the Economic Charter) on December 12, 1974, by a 120-6-10 vote. The background, the non-binding character of the Economic Charter, and some of its provisions have been analyzed in an article by Charles N. Brewer and John B. Tepe, Jr. which is based on a report approved by a subcommittee of the Section of International Law of the American Bar Association.

The purpose of the present analysis is:

  1. To express a further opinion on the legal effect of the Economic Charter leading to the application of some of its provisions that truly reflect current practice.
  2. To suggest that the fundamental principle of "[f]ulfilment in good faith of international obligations" refers to general international law and qualifies each provision of the Economic Charter unless it is excluded by its wording.
  3. To submit, in the light of the above premises, that the Economic Charter renders support to the regulation of foreign investment and of transnational corporations in the United States, provided that bilateral treaties of friendship or conventions of establishment are observed.
  4. To demonstrate that the one-sided provision on the taking of property contained in the Economic Charter will not help the recognition of expropriatory action but, on the contrary, will lead to effective retaliation in the United States and in Western Europe.
  5. To refer briefly to the policy of the United States towards nonmarket economy states as reflected in the Trade Act 1974.