The International Coffee Agreement: A Case History in Negotiation
Symposium on 'International Commodity Agreements' Law and Contemporary Problems, pp. 328-391, Spring 1963
66 Pages Posted: 15 Apr 2010
Date Written: 1963
On July 1, 1963, the International Coffee Agreement, 1962, entered into force among 37 countries, successfully culminating years of effort to establish a global system regulating commerce in one of the world’s important and troublesome commodities. This article, written by a U.S. State Department attorney who was Chair of the Legal and Drafting Group for the conference developing the Agreement, gives a detailed account of its negotiation in an attempt to give a realistic sense of how such a complex international economic agreement actually comes about.
The Agreement is noteworthy for several reasons. First, it is one of the most significant international economic agreements negotiated up to this time, affecting more than one and three-quarter billion dollars in world trade, more than two-thirds of the nations of the world and the economic well-being of millions of people. Second, the Agreement is the latest and most far-reaching of an increasingly important series of such commodity agreements, which could form a model for future agreements of this type. Third, up to this time, international economic agreements have been sadly neglected by international lawyers, despite the fact that arrangements of this type embody important experience in the area of international cooperation and negotiation and are in some cases unique experiments in developing techniques of international legal control. More attention to the importance of such developing international economic arrangements and law is long overdue.
Finally – and most broadly – this article seeks to illustrate the kinds of international mechanisms and procedures which may be involved in bringing such complex international agreements into being, and the various legal and practical problems, conflicting interests, opposing interests, and contingent occurrences which may shape their eventual form and substance.
Keywords: commodity agreements, international commodity agreements, international coffee agreement, international agreements, international negotiations, international economic law, international economic arrangements, U.S. foreign relations, U.S. foreign policy, U.S. foreign affairs
JEL Classification: K4, F13, Q2, Q29
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation