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Is It Possible To Harmonise International Trade?

2546 words - 10 pages

For many years, there have been several attempts in the harmonisation of international trade. Unfortunately, sales of international goods are very complex and this leads to great difficult in unifying trade law. People have tried to create universal laws to mend shipping issues, seller to buyer relationships and fraud, however, there is still no global international trade law. So far, with every attempt, it becomes clearer that nations have conflicting ideologies or viewpoints and hinders the progression of global harmonisation of international trade. The idea of perfectly harmonising international trade is not possible because countries act to benefit their self-interests and have varying interpretations of law.
The Hague-Visby Rules, Hamburg Rules and Rotterdam Rules are all international trade laws which attempted to harmonise trade law regarding carriers. However, not all countries have parted from their laws and adopt the Rotterdam Rules, the most modern of the three provisions. The Hague-Visby Rules are heavily criticised because of the laws included seem to heavily favour cargo owners and the Hamburg rules were introduced to replace the 1924 Hague Rules and the 1968 Hague-Visby Rules (Wanigasekera and Creasy, n.d., p. 2, 4). The Hamburg Rules and the Hague-Visby Rules are very different from each other in regards of what goods are covered and time length to bring a claim. According to Hague-Visby Rule article 1(c), “'Goods' includes goods, wares, merchandise, and articles of every kind whatsoever except live animals” and deck cargo (, 2014). The Hamburg Rules accepts live animals and deck cargo within their provisions as goods covered under Article 1(5) and Article 9 (United Nations Convention on the Carriage of Goods By Sea, 1978 (Hamburg Rules), 1994). In addition, the two rules have different lengths of time to bring forth a claim. Under the Hague-Visby Rules Article 3(6), the plaintiff must bring a claim within one year of the delivery date (, 2014). Adversely, the Hamburg Rules Article 20(1) allow plaintiffs an additional year to bring forth a claim (United Nations Convention on the Carriage of Goods By Sea, 1978 (Hamburg Rules), 1994, p. 12). With the Hamburg Rules affixing livestock, deck cargo to their laws and lengthening claim periods, this set of provisions gives carriers greater responsibility and are held more liable for their actions. These new additions would not favour countries with a large shipping industry, and countries which are content with the Hague-Visby Rules do not see any benefit into enacting the Hamburg Rules.
In another attempt to harmonise trade law between sellers and carriers, the Rotterdam Rules was developed to replace the previous conventions by compromising between the Hague-Visby Rules and Hamburg Rules. The Rotterdam Rules discusses livestock, along with other issues in an attempt at harmonisation. The Rotterdam Rules Article 81(a) show that “the contract of...

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