The retreat from the UN-sponsored system of international law makes it much harder for the White House to take the moral high ground, says the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy in Washington.

Speaking to journalists on Wednesday, the institute's vice-president Kristin Dawkins said less than 30% of laws already agreed with the UN had become law, despite pledges made by the White House.

"It has set a dangerous precedent that other countries could follow in areas such as arms trade and nuclear weapons," she added.
  
Poor record

The widely-publicised Bush decisions to withdraw US support from the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change, abandon the US-Russian Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty and shun the International Criminal Court are just the latest manifestations.

The report details a generally sceptical attitude in Washington towards international law, the report pointed out.
  
Over the years, the US has ratified only 14 out of 162 "active treaties" put together by the International Labour Organisation and only two of the eight "core" UN conventions protecting the rights of workers, according to the study.
  
It has approved just three of 11 major environmental treaties, five out of the 12 human rights treaties promoted by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, and about half of the 23 treaties regulating intellectual property rights and related technologies.
  
As for the 10 treaties managed by the Food and Agriculture Organisation, the US senate has ratified only six of them, the report said.