Catholic University Law Review


When the United States unilaterally withdrew from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (“JCPOA,” colloquially known as the Iran Nuclear Deal) in May of 2018, that withdrawal signaled not only the United States withdrawal from that deal, of which it had been one of the chief negotiators, but also of a new level of trade engagement by the United States and the Trump Administration within the international community. European countries, in an attempt to continue existing business relationships with the Iranians, pulled an old tool from their toolbox – the blocking statute – to attempt to allow European and multinational companies to ignore the sanctions tied to the American withdrawal from the JCPOA. This Comment discusses both the international tensions engendered by the United States JCPOA withdrawal as well as the apparent movement by the United States to manipulate and dominate international trade post-JCPOA and its ramifications for the international community.

Part I of the Comment describes the history of United States extraterritorial trade efforts as well as international efforts to contain its extraterritorial trade reach. Part II discusses contemporary legislative schemes in Europe, including existing international dispute mechanisms that could not only protect European trading interests but also provide a path towards eventual compromise. Part III explains how forceful enforcement by the European Union of its own regulations could further bolster European trading interests. Finally, this Comment suggests that eventually, the United States will circle back to a more moderate stance on its extraterritorial international sanctions scheme as a result of European statutory efforts.