Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law

First Page



Despite the technological and political intricacies that earmark the current international economic system, the transnational boycott remains a prominent technique of international economic coercion.

The transnational boycott can be described as a coercive quasi-conspiratorial combination effort by one state to prevent another state from transacting commercial business. Threats or intimidation may be directed at the target state's customers to induce them to withhold or withdraw their patronage. While the ends and means of transnational boycotts may seem clear, their legal status appears to be open to conjecture. This situation can be attributed in no small part to the more sophisticated and manipulative methods currently available for effecting and maintaining modern boycotts.

This Article first seeks to examine critically the historical evolution and policy underpinnings of the transnational boycott and the political and economic ramifications that stem from a state's use of a boycott strategy. Second, this Article attempts to determine more precisely the international legal status of the transnational boycott as a deliberate instrument of a state's foreign policy. The intent of this analysis is to provide a better understanding of the political rationales of governments that resort to boycott strategies, the resultant economic implications, and the international legal parameters for transnational boycotts.