International Trade Law

The World Trade Organization attracts a lot of attention and criticism. Why do economists say that liberalizing trade flows is a good thing? How can this liberalization go hand in hand with other public policy choices such as protecting the environment and human rights or promoting the economic development of poor countries? In this course, we will examine why the WTO is there, how it developed from the GATT to what it is now and how it fits in the wider picture of other international economic institutions such as the World Bank and the IMF (Part I). The course will offer you an in-depth, practical knowledge of substantive WTO law drawing heavily on case law. It will address the basic principles of trade in goods and trade in services, as well as some of the more specialised WTO agreements on, for example, health measures, investment, subsidies, anti-dumping and safeguards. We will follow-up also on how the new Doha development round of trade negotiations proceeds. (Part II). From a more procedural side, the course will pay close attention to the unique WTO mechanism for the solution of trade disputes, with special reference again to recent and ongoing cases. (Part III). Although the focus of this course is the law of the WTO, one of its driving themes will be to find the WTO's rightful place in, on the one hand, the wider field of public international law and, on the other hand, further reaching regional modes of integration such as the European Union and NAFTA. The intention is to invite a number of guest speakers who are practitioners in the trade field be it in Washington, Brussels or Geneva.

Please note that course organization and content may vary substantially from semester to semester and descriptions are not necessarily professor specific. Please contact the instructor directly if you have particular course-related questions.


Rachel Brewster
International Trade Law 361.01
Spring 2014
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