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31 J. World Trade 5 (1997)
Can the United States Set Rules for the World

handle is hein.kluwer/jwt0031 and id is 529 raw text is: Can the United States set Rules for the World?
A French View
Brigitte STERN*
The problem of extraterritorial application of the law has always existed, since the
international community is divided into different States each enforcing its own legal
order on its own territory. What is called to-day economic globalization-which is
quite a vague expression     that some authors translate as American        economic
domination-inevitably produces more and more conflicts ofjurisdiction between the
different States as they try, and mainly the most powerful of them, to reach economic
phenomena that transcend their borders.
The hierarchy between the international level and the national level is not the
same, whether one looks at economy or law. The world economy is globalized, and is
no longer in the hands of States, but rather of private entities-the multinational
corporations-and the national economies are dependent on what happens world-wide.
On the contrary, in the legal sphere, even if international law is theoretically superior to
the different national legal orders,1 efficiency-the power of coercion-remains at the
State level. Most of the problems of extraterritoriality stem from this discrepancy.
Not only is economy concerned by this duality, other phenomena also transcend
State frontiers and are of world-wide concern, like trafficking in drugs or international
terrorism, and naturally, to-day, the Internet.
Considering the growing interdependence of States, it is quite evident that
economy is an efficient tool of international politics. The problem will be to determine
the actual limits of permissible economic pressure.
The Helms-Burton Act2 (discussed more fully below)-and others, like the
* Professor of International Law at the University of Paris i Pantheon-Sorbonne; Director of the CEDIN-Paris
i (Centre de droit international de Paris t), Paris, France.
I It is well known that the United States is sometimes reluctant to recognize the superiority of international
law over American law. In fact, it is admitted that if Congress clearly decides to do so, it can adopt a law that
disregards international law.
2 Public Law 104th-114, 12 March 1996, 110 Stat. 785.
Copyright 0 2007 by Kluwer Law International. All rights reserved.
No claim asserted to original government works.

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