ARGUMENT OF THE TRILOGY: TRADE AS COUNTER-TERRORISM
International trade law always has been about economic development. International trade law always has been about national security. And, since the advent of Islam in 610 AD with the first revelation from Allˆah through the Archangel Gabriel (in Arabic, Jibreel) to the Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him (PBUH)), Muslims have been engaged, in one way or another, in international trade law.
Thus, it is a fallacy to think that poor or Muslim countries are newcomers to the modern world trading system. The first two paragraphs of the Preamble to the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) state:
The Governments of the Commonwealth of Australia, the Kingdom of Belgium, the United States of Brazil, Burma, Canada, Ceylon, the Republic of Chile, the Republic of China, the Republic of Cuba, the Czechoslovak Republic, the French Republic, India, Lebanon, the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, the Kingdom of the Netherlands, New Zealand, the Kingdom of Norway, Pakistan, Southern Rhodesia, Syria, the Union of South Africa, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and the United States of America:
Recognizing that their relations in the field of trade and economic endeavour should be conducted with a view to raising standards of living, ensuring full employment and a large and steadily growing volume of real income and effective demand, developing the full use of the resources of the world and expanding the production and exchange of goods . . . .1
From these paragraphs, two points are evident. First, of the twenty-three original GATT contracting parties, eleven were poor countries (Burma, Ceylon, Chile, China, Cuba, Southern Rhodesia, and South Africa, plus India, Lebanon, Pakistan, and Syria). Second, four of the countries (India, Lebanon, Pakistan, and Syria) were Muslim or had sizeable Muslim communities. In other words, half of the countries founding the modern multilateral trading system in the aftermath of the Second World War were developing or least developed, and nearly 20% of them embodied Islam in a significant way. These figures understate both points because Belgium, France, Netherlands, and United Kingdom all held sway over vast poor and/or Muslim territories when GATT entered into force on 1 January 1948.
Read the complete document of Part I here.
Read the complete document of Part II, here.
Read the complete document of Part III, here.
Raj Bhala is Associate Dean for International and Comparative Law, and Rice Distinguished Fellow, University of Kansas School of Law.