Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law

First Page



UNCTAD's fourteenth plenary meeting on May 6, 1980, produced the latest of several attempts to draft such a code. The document is entitled "Draft International Code of Conduct on the Transfer of Technology" (Draft Code), and this draft will be the primary subject of analysis in this article. The drafters of the code face a number of problems, the least of which is the ultimate determination of the code's legal character and, consequently, its legal effect. This determination and other problem areas confronting the drafters, including the code's special preferences for developing countries, the core chapter on restrictive practices, and the objectives and principles of the code, will be discussed and analyzed in this article. By necessity, reference will continually be made to the various approaches of the three contending groups.

The writer will, whenever possible, point out the different positions among these three groups regarding the standards of international law that the code should embody. An example of one point of contention is that, whereas new normative standards are being devised by the developing countries (the Group of 77), the existing standards of international law are being protected by the Western (Group B) and socialist (Group D) groups.

This critique will carefully avoid any technical evaluation of specific provisions of the Draft Code because the code of conduct is far from reaching its final form and such an analysis might well defeat the purpose of an overall critique of the Draft Code. More appropriately, the subject matter of this article will be examined from the standpoint of general comparisons and criticisms, while including occasional references to particular provisions of the Draft Code for the purpose of illustration.