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Open Access Publications from the University of California

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PBLJ is the second oldest law journal at UCLA and focuses on a diverse range of legal and policy issues in the Pacific Rim, looking to both the Asia-Pacific and the Americas. In the past, PBLJ has featured articles on topics as varied as intellectual property regimes, climate change and migration in the Pacific, corporate governance, and affordable housing policy in China.

UCLA Pacific Basin Law Journal

Articles

A New Leader in Asian Free Trade Agreements? Chinese Style Global Trade: New Rules, No Labor Protections

In 2017, after the election of Donald Trump and his subsequent language and actions surrounding global trade, Chinese President Xi Jinping took the world stage at the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting in a moment that led many to say he assumed the mantle of world leader on globalism and global trade, particularly in Asia. Previously, President Obama noted that the TPP presented an opportunity for the U.S., along with its partners, to write the rules of international trade with Asia-Pacific countries. At the same time, China has been working to negotiate another trade agreement in the Asia-Pacific Region, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). The RCEP aims to be the largest free-trade bloc in the world, comprising all ten ASEAN nations (Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam) and the six other countries with which ASEAN already has free-trade agreements (FTAs)—China, India, Japan, South Korea, Australia, and New Zealand.

With China ascending in global leadership on Asian trade at the same time the U.S. descends, a looming question arises—what is to be expected in terms of trade rules and labor protections? There is a history on both issues that is explored in this paper and which reveals there may be difficulties ahead for those looking for an even playing field in trade and attention to labor protections. To many, it will seem like RCEP is a green light for MNCs to further invest in their labor supply chains in the developing countries in Asia, much to the consternation of labor unions in the U.S. and the detriment to American and Asian workers. Further, there are outstanding questions as to the efficacy of any labor protections that arise in future agreements. The Asia-Pacific Region is one of the largest markets in the world, so answering these questions is critical. To arrive at a fair estimate of what to expect in terms of real labor law protections and their enforcement in Asian countries under the Chinese-influenced FTAs, this paper examines the social dimension provisions of the Chinese free trade agreements (FTAs) in Asia relating to labor.

Franchising in the Middle East: The Example of Egypt

With the largest population in the Arab Middle East and a central location between Europe and East Asia, Egypt offers one of the biggest sources of franchising markets in the world for new business opportunities. Egypt, however, does not have specialized laws regulating franchising, which results in real challenges for investors who are seeking to franchise their businesses in Egypt, along with their legal advisors. It also creates problems for the courts who must rule on disputes arising from franchising transactions.

Because of this lack of formal legal guidance in Egypt, other laws, including contract, commercial and agency laws, have had a substantial impact on franchising. This inconsistency in application can lead to contradictions as to the specific nature of franchising, which can make it difficult to negotiate and decide various issues arising under franchise agreements. Further, the variety of applications can impose heavy burdens on franchising parties.

With all of these factors in place, it seems like a perfect time to discuss a new legal framework for franchising in Egypt. Such legal reform will be important for Egypt in order to recover from the economic impact of the January Revolution and subsequent political unrest, and also to improve the chances for foreign investment. A comprehensive Egyptian franchise law proposal should address various issues that are commonly dealt with in other franchise law frameworks around the globe, such as disclosure commitments, registration requirements, and substantive rights and obligations of the parties.

Balancing the Act on Anti-Terrorism in South Korea

The Act on Anti-Terrorism+ for the Protection of Citizens and Public Security passed in 2016 despite the longest filibuster in the history of Korean legislation. While counterterrorism legislation can often present dangers of overreaching state authority and risks to citizens’ rights in any country, the South Korean narrative is uniquely layered given the historical context of anti-communist discourse. This article argues that the Act mitigates accusations of human rights violations by assuming dual legal purposes of national security and disaster management as well as employing human rights discourse and safeguards within the law. However, expansive executive and agency discretion, ambiguities in terrorist discourse, and lack of due process undermine human rights compliance, endangering both citizens’ and foreigners’ rights against unwarranted government intrusion.

+ "This article follows the Korean government's translation of the law, which uses "Anti-Terrorism" rather than "Counter-Terrorism" in the title of the Act. Korean names in the text begin with the surname and reflect commonly printed designations for public figures or otherwise personal preference. All other romanizations follow the official Korean government's revised romanization system."