Recognising the duty to cooperate in international commercial contracts

The duty of contracting parties to cooperate in the performance of commercial contracts is at once both intuitive, and utterly foreign. On the one hand, all commercial relationships require a degree of trust, and a party may reasonably expect that the other is committed to working together to carry out their bargain. This applies a fortiori in international commerce, where distance and unfamiliarity between parties make it necessary to trust the other to uphold their contractual promises. Yet, it may be argued that such expectations are unrealistic since all of commerce is motivated by self-interest. Despite this tension, it will be argued that the duty to cooperate is fundamental to international commercial contracts. This arises from the inherent nature of such contractual relationships, and is reflected in the increasing recognition of this duty in national legislation and transnational principles.