Multilateral Treaty-Making: The Current Status of Challenges by Vera Gowlland-Debbas (auth.), Vera Gowlland-Debbas (eds.)

By Vera Gowlland-Debbas (auth.), Vera Gowlland-Debbas (eds.)

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Extra info for Multilateral Treaty-Making: The Current Status of Challenges to and Reforms Needed in the International Legislative Process

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7 See P. ), International Economic Law with a Human Face, 1998, pp. 45-65. The following section is based on a revised part of this arti- cle. 48 Peter Malanczuk are currently between 37,000 8 and 44,0009 multinational companies (depending on definitions and sources) with about 280,000 subsidiaries. Meanwhile, the 100 largest companies (measured by the amount of foreign property) control one-fifth of the participation capital globally invested. Among the top twelve companies, led by Shell/Royal Dutch based in the United Kingdom and the Netherlands, there are five based in the United States (Ford, General Electric, Exxon, General Motors and IBM), two in Germany (Volkswagen and Bayer), two in Japan (Toyota and Mitsubishi) and two in Switzerland (Nestle and ABB).

All of these principles are open-textured in the sense that there is considerable uncertainty concerning their specific content and they leave much room for interpretation and elaboration. They are not at all like rules requiring States to conduct an environmental impact assessment, or to prevent harm to other States. Given their explicit role as guidance and their explicitly softer formulation, the "principles" in Article 3 are not necessarily binding rules which must be complied with or which entail responsibility for breach if not complied with; yet, despite all these limitations they are not legally irrelevant.

There are several reasons. First, like non-binding instruments, it facilitates agreement on rules or commitments which are hard in content. These rules or commitments do have the binding force of a treaty, with all that implies in terms of a sense of obligation, but the consequences of non-compliance are not as severe or potentially troublesome as they would be if there were compulsory binding adjudication in every case of dispute or alleged non-compliance. This may be important in areas such as climate change, where compliance is not equally easy for all States, or where the capacities of States differ.

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