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Regulating Land Grabs: Third Party States, Social Activism and International Law

Rethinking Food Systems: Structural Challenges, New Strategies and the Law (Lea Brilmayer et al. eds., Springer 2014)

24 Pages Posted: 15 Feb 2014  

Lea Brilmayer

Yale University - Law School

William J. Moon

New York University School of Law

Date Written: February 13, 2014

Abstract

This chapter explores how international law may regulate large-scale leases and acquisitions of land (“land grab”) that have accelerated in pace and scope in recent years. We start by identifying why the land grab phenomenon concerns food security. In particular, we observe that the lessor countries (those where the land is located) are almost invariably states plagued by corruption, lack of democracy, dependence on food aid, and weak property rights. Where agents (state leaders) have conflicts of interests with their principals (citizens) it cannot be assumed that these transactions will work to the local population’s advantage. After examining why international investment law is not equipped to police these transactions, we turn to sources within trade law. Because trade law concerns the cross border flow of products, it has the potential to de-incentivize food from leaving land grabbed states and deter similar transactions in the future. The central question, then, is whether World Trade Organization (WTO) law accommodates strategies that are designed specifically to discourage particular categories of free trade. Drawing on recent WTO jurisprudence, we propose labeling laws and import restrictions as potential regulations that may be adopted by third party states.

Keywords: Land grabs, International Law, Social Activism, WTO law, GATT Article XX, Labeling law, Famine, Import Restrictions, International Investment Agreements

JEL Classification: F02, F15, F21, K33, K12, K42, O19, Q17

Suggested Citation

Brilmayer, Lea and Moon, William J., Regulating Land Grabs: Third Party States, Social Activism and International Law (February 13, 2014). Rethinking Food Systems: Structural Challenges, New Strategies and the Law (Lea Brilmayer et al. eds., Springer 2014). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2395461

Lea Brilmayer

Yale University - Law School ( email )

P.O. Box 208215
New Haven, CT 06520-8215
United States

William Moon (Contact Author)

New York University School of Law ( email )

40 Washington Square South
New York, NY 10012-1099
United States

HOME PAGE: http://its.law.nyu.edu/facultyprofiles/index.cfm?fuseaction=profile.overview&personid=44125

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