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Questions concerning the future orientation of the process are more pressing and demand a definition of the international mission and role of arbitral adjudication. Nations share the perception that national economies are no longer autonomous, that they must function within a larger global framework. The question then becomes not whether a uniform international law of sales is needed, but rather how it is to be achieved. The transnational preeminence that arbitration has gained as a remedial mechanism makes it a likely vehicle for elaborating a common law of international contracts.

This article assesses the impact of the Vienna Convention upon prospective and actual transnational arbitral law-making, and concludes that, given the realities of international commerce, having arbitral awards rendered by way of published decisions with reasons remains the more viable source of an emerging common law of international contracts. At best, in light of its substantive deficiencies and its political underpinnings, the Convention can only serve a veiled function, acting as a remote backdrop for arbitral rulings that actually create viable rules of conduct for international merchants.