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The legal rules governing recognition in the United States of foreign administrative acts vary sharply depending on whether the foreign administrative act in question is covered by a mutual recognition agreement (MRA), which seeks to eliminate duplicative assessments in international trade of conformity of goods and services with applicable product and service standards, or similar treaties. Such agreements and their implementing legislation and regulation give a clear legal basis for recognition to the extent that they cover foreign administrative acts though in fact many do not. Otherwise, recognition is based on the common law, which provides for recognition--chiefly enforcement of money judgments or collateral estoppel on common issues, but excluding fines and penalties--in order to avoid duplicative litigation in situations in which there has already been a full and fair opportunity to litigate all relevant issues in connection with the issuance of the foreign administrative act. The common law is subject to exceptions to protect crucial U.S. public policies, but the act of state doctrine extends the scope of administrative acts that may be granted recognition in the United States by eliminating the defense of public policy in certain cases.
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- Recognition of Foreign Administrative Acts in the United States
John C. Reitz
- Chapter 18
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