1. Nature of International Economic Law

1.1 Nature of International Economic Law

International Economic Law deals with the regulation of economic affairs between two or more different States. This is its main function. If such regulation applies to two States only, we then speak of bilateral economic regulation. If, on the other hand, such regulation applies to more than two States, we speak of multilateral economic regulation.

Beyond this, International Economic Law is seen to increasingly deal with the regulation of traders from different countries. As a result, International Economic Law has a dual character nowadays, as it deals both with the regulation of economic relations of different States but also with the regulation of traders from different countries.

Activity 1

This activity should take approximately 5 minutes to complete.

Click on the tabs in the animation to see the difference between bilateral economic regulation and multilateral economic regulation

An animation that shows the difference between bilateral economic regulation and multilateral economic regulation.

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Economic regulation between States
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International Economic Law deals with two kinds of legal instruments: soft law instruments and hard law instruments. Hard law instruments create obligations being binding and enforceable in nature, whereas soft law instruments do not create obligations and are non-binding and generally unenforceable in nature.

Activity 2

This activity should take approximately 15 minutes to complete.

An animation that shows the difference between hard and soft law instruments.

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Legal Instrument
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Answer

This animation shows that:

  • A hard law instrument is for instance a binding provision such as the competition provisions of EU law.
  • A soft law instrument is a non-binding instrument which may have to be followed such as the Articles of Agreement of the International Monetary Fund.

1.2 Multiple choice questions