Arbitration Tribunal in Foreign Trade

Arbitration Tribunal in Foreign Trade


an organ which carries out investigation into civil cases in foreign trade. It functions as a court of arbitration—that is, it consists of persons selected by the disputing parties (arbitrators or judges of courts of arbitration) and resolves disputes within its area of competence, which is determined by agreement between parties. As distinguished from an international arbitration tribunal, which reviews disputes between states on the basis of the principles and norms of international law, the foreign trade arbitration tribunal as a rule is a national legal institution to which not states, but juridical persons (organizations, institutions, and so forth), have recourse. Agreement to submit cases to foreign trade arbitration can be formalized by the parties involved by the signing of a statement of arbitration (an agreement to resort to arbitration, concluded between parties in a dispute that has already arisen) or by the inclusion of an arbitration provision (a stipulation providing for arbitration, or an arbitration clause) in the business agreement concluded between them. The latter would constitute an agreement to use arbitration for resolving possible disputes concerning the given transaction. In capitalist countries a stipulation for resolving disputes in a particular foreign trade arbitration tribunal is frequently included by monopolies in the model agreements, so-called form agreements, which are worked out by the monopolies and imposed on their customers. As a result of this, these clauses in essence no longer have the nature of voluntary agreements.

A foreign trade arbitration tribunal can be set up to resolve some specific dispute (it would then be a so-called isolated, or ad hoc, arbitration tribunal), or it can be set up as a permanently functioning court of arbitration (an institutional arbitration commission).

In the USSR there are two permanently functioning foreign trade arbitration tribunals which consider disputes in foreign trade and are public organizations attached to the All-Union Chamber of Commerce: the Foreign Trade Arbitration Commission (VTAK) and the Maritime Arbitration Commission (MAK). Permanently functioning arbitration tribunals have been created in all of the European socialist countries, and in 1959 the chambers of commerce of the German Democratic Republic, Poland, and Czechoslovakia established the International Maritime and River Arbitration Tribunal at Gdynia in Poland. This body reviews civil law disputes which arise in connection with international navigation on the sea, on rivers, or on other waterways between states.

In the capitalist countries one of the major arbitration institutions which monopolize the field is the American Arbitration Association (AAA), which was founded in New York in 1926. The AAA is also attempting to expand its sphere of influence overseas. With this goal, which serves the interests of American monopoly capital, it has set up a Pan-American arbitration system and a Canadian-American arbitration system. In maritime transport one of the most influential arbitration tribunals is attached to Lloyd’s of London, the so-called Lloyd’s Arbitration Commission in London, which considers, on the basis of English law, disputes over the size of rescue fees and the assignment of blame in cases of collisions of vessels at sea.

Foreign trade arbitration tribunals play an important role in international trade turnover. The basic principles of foreign trade arbitration were laid down by the Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitration Decisions, which was signed in New York on June 10, 1958, and by the European Convention on Foreign Trade Arbitration, adopted in Geneva on Apr. 21, 1961. Both conventions were ratified by the USSR.

The procedure for enforcing foreign arbitration decisions in the USSR is outlined by the appropriate agreements or international conventions, primarily by the New York convention of 1958. Regarding arbitration decisions carried out in states that are not signatories to the convention, the terms of the New York convention of 1958 are applied in the USSR only on the basis of mutual agreement.