Inter-American Law Review Hosts Symposium on Regional Trade Agreements and Human Rights


The School of Law's legal publication, The Inter-American Law Review, sponsored a symposium discussing "The Human Element: The Impact of Regional Trade Agreements on Human Rights and the Rule of Law" on February 26. The symposium consisted of the presentation of papers by distinguished law professors from around the country followed by commentary.

This year's symposium focused on the impact of trade agreements on the people of Latin America from their population to their rulers. Trade agreements have begun to affect the rule of law by providing a neutral forum to hold those in power, and otherwise unaccountable to the laws of their country, accountable to foreign nations. The agreements have served to elevate the Rule of Law beyond the Rule of Man in some cases in these Latin American countries. However, trade agreements have had mixed results with their impact on human rights. They have a large impact on labor and environmental rights, as well as an economic impact based on these provisions, yet these are not always a positive impact.

Individual speakers at this event included Professors Stephen Powell, Alejandro Garro and David Gantz. Stephen Powell, Director of the International Trade Law Program at the University of Florida Law School, spoke on "Managing the Rule of Law in the Americas," a statistical study of the recent empirical effects of organizations like the WTO, MERCOSUL and NAFTA on Latin American society. He also discussed regionalism and its impact on human rights.

Alejandro Garro of the Parker School of Foreign and Comparative Law at Columbia University Law School presented a paper titled "The Impact of Regional Trade Agreements and Bilateral Investment Treaties on the 'Rule of Law' and Standards of Administration of Justice."

David Gantz, director of the International Trade Law Program at the University of Arizona Law School and Associate Director of the National Law Center for Inter-American Free Trade, focused on the evolution and impact of the labor and environmental provisions of NAFTA and its progeny, incorporating topics such as labor rights as many argue that they can be considered human rights.

The Inter-American Law Review (IALR) is a scholarly international legal periodical run entirely by second and third year law students at Miami Law. The publication is devoted to providing a forum through which legal scholars, practitioners, and students discuss major international and inter-American legal and legally-related developments focusing on pertinent topics such as Immigration & Refugees, International Banking & Finance, Employment & Labor Law, Latin American Economic Integration & NAFTA, Taxation, Human Rights & International Organizations. IALR is recognized as the only student-run periodical to focus solely on legal issues which directly affect Latin America and the Caribbean. Lawyers, businesspersons, professors, and students of law, political science, and international commerce find the IALR a valuable source of information for recent legal developments not only in Western Hemisphere but around the globe.