FCIL Newsletter, October 1995

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FCIL Newsletter / October 1995


What I Learned on My Trip to Philly

by Jonathan Franklin
University of Michigan Law Library

The 1995 Summer Institute in Philadelphia, "International Business Law: Legal Transactions in a Global Economy," was the fourth in the five-part foreign and international law institute series. From July 11 through 14, sixty attendees and fifteen speakers immersed themselves in the foreign national and international aspects of business law. Here it goes.

July 12

University of Pennsylvania Law School's classrooms are freezing in July.

The regulatory structure of international economic and trade law can be attacked by starting with the basic written sources, looking at national treatments, and finally considering how general commercial trends and goals can be applied to the international arena.

Philly soft pretzels are not like the ones you get off the rack at the Detroit airport.

A bibliographic instruction session can be entertaining when based on how you would solve sample reference questions on the topic.

In discussing import and export issues, import tariffs are determined by answering three questions: 1) What is the good? 2) What is its country of origin? 3) How much is it worth? Then plug these into the Harmonized Tariff Schedule (26 U.S.C. sec. 40).

When considering export issues, don't forget issues raised by the Anti-Boycott Act (a.k.a. Export Administration Act, 50 App. U.S.C. secs. 2041 et seq.) and the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (15 U.S.C. sec. 78).

One of the best sources in this area is Trade Policy Review: United States, published biennially by GATT.

Beware of upscale Philly cheesesteak sandwiches; they are not real unless they use Velveeta.

The largest problems in transnational joint ventures are motivation (why do we want to do business with each other), communication (how will we jointly run the venture), negotiation (how will we finalize the details before we kill each other).

The key documents in a transnational joint venture (or any other one for that matter) are the Business Plan, the Confidentiality Agreement, the Memorandum of Understanding, and the Final Agreement.

Doing Business-type books have their place in an academic law library (and of course in a firm law library), but the quality is so variable between different publishers using identical titles that selection is tricky.

With Dutch Treat Dine-Arounds, the key is not the restaurant, but to go with a great group. I am sure no one was disappointed given how friendly everyone was.

July 13

U.S.-E.U. competition (a.k.a. antitrust) issues include extraterritoriality, merger control (September 1990 E.U. merger regs), and distribution and licensing agreements (block exemptions).

Keep up on this area with World Antitrust Law and Practice edited by James J. Garrett (Boston: Little, Brown, 1995-) and/or Oceana looseleaf Antitrust and Restrictive Business Practices edited by Julius J. Marke and Najeeb Samie.

The Fordham Corporate Law Institute's Annual Proceedings are an important resource for this whole area.

Tastie-Kakes (forgive the spelling, Merle) are tasty cakes.

Transfer pricing is not how much public transit will charge for you to change buses to get where you are going. It is an astoundingly complex issue dealing with how companies are taxed for sales of goods to subsidiaries or related business entities.

International Bureau of Fiscal Documentation publications are good ways to get a grasp of international tax issues for a particular geographic region (albeit at a high cost).

Scrapple is a Philly breakfast food. It is "a seasoned mixture of ground meat (such as pork) and cornmeal set in a mold and served sliced and fried." Webster's Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary (1984).

The reunification of Germany, along with immigration, has radically affected the German labor pool, especially for those from the east who were used to employment subsidized by the government.

Those fiendish folks at Kluwer are excerpting parts of Blanpain's fine International Encyclopedia for Labour Law and Industrial Relations and selling them as monographs. Get one or the other, but not both!

The reading room of the Biddle Law Library makes a splendid dining room.

One of the first American law textbooks focusing on Japanese business law is out. It is Law and Investment in Japan: Cases and Materials by Yukio Yanagida et al. (Harvard University Press: 1994).

July 14

Law firms are willing to use Concordes to get documents across the Atlantic.

For some firms, fax machines are more important than dusty volumes on the shelves for primary sources. Collection development by FedEx.

Even when the weather is hot and humid, the Liberty Bell is a popular spot. Wow!

Academic law libraries would do well to collect broadly, but focus on specific regions or topics to maintain a comprehensive collection of something.

Many practice-oriented materials are the most up-to-date sources, even for academics.

The Biddle Law Library has its own foreign and international law reference collection and CD-ROM system with all sorts of exciting international CDs.

Foreign law problem sets are easier to draft than they are to solve. At least they were very hard to solve.

A great and hearty thanks for Gitelle Seer and Maria Smolka-Day for their exceptional work in co-directing the institute, and to Merle Slyhoff and the Local Arrangements Group for their exhaustive efforts to expose us to Philadelphia. Onward to Bloomington!


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