International Trade Law
Full course description
This course, a compulsory course in the International Trade and Investment Law track of the Globalisation and Law Masters, deals with the rules regulating international trade relations. It covers core aspects of the institutional and substantive law of the World Trade Organization (WTO). The WTO, established in 1995, is at the forefront of the multilateral effort to manage economic globalisation and governs the trade relations between its 166 Members. WTO law not only plays an important role in state-to-state relations, it also affects each of us directly. It significantly influences, for example, the carbon impact of the cars we drive and the quality of food we eat. The course addresses the following themes:
- International trade and the WTO (on the phenomenon of economic globalisation, the role of law in international economic and trade relations and the history, objectives, structure, functions, decision-making and membership of the WTO);
- The dispute settlement system of the WTO (on the principles, procedures, key features and institutions of the WTO dispute settlement system, and its current crisis)
- Rules on non-discrimination for trade in goods (on the GATT obligations of most-favoured nation treatment and national treatment);
- Rules on non-discrimination for trade in services (on the GATS obligations of most-favoured nation treatment and national treatment);
- Rules on market access (on tariff barriers and non-tariff barriers to trade in goods and services); and
- Balancing free trade with non-economic values and interests (on exceptions to the basic rules, namely general public policy exceptions and security exceptions).
The course is built around a number of true-to-life international trade problems that form the basis for tutorial assignments.
- The student acquires up-to-date knowledge of the institutional and core substantive law of the World Trade Organization;
- The student is aware of, and can form a reasoned opinion on, the current challenges faced by the WTO as an institution;
- The student understands and is able to engage in critical discussion on substantive legal issues relating to the core obligations and exceptions in WTO law;
- The student can evaluate the relationship between WTO rules and the protection of non-trade values;
- The student can identify international trade law issues arising from fictional case studies and is able to analyse them by applying the relevant provisions of WTO law;
- The student is able to write well-motivated legal opinions solving international trade problems under WTO law, and can present these convincingly in class.
Students are expected to have followed a previous course in international law or European law and therefore such basic knowledge will be presumed.
The textbook used in this course is VAN DEN BOSSCHE, P. and ZDOUC, W., The Law and Policy of the World Trade Organization, 5th Edition (Cambridge University Press, 2021) (available as e-book via the university library).
Furthermore, it is convenient for students to have a copy of The WTO Agreements: The Marrakesh Agreement establishing the World Trade Organization and its Annexes (Cambridge University Press, 2017). However, students can also find the relevant WTO legal texts on the WTO website (www.wto.org) and may use the digital version of these texts.
Furthermore, it is convenient for students to have a copy of The WTO Agreements: The Marrakesh Agreement establishing the World Trade Organization and its Annexes (Cambridge University Press, 2017). However, students can also find the relevant WTO legal texts on the WTO website (www.wto.org) and can use the digital version of these texts.