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 economic globalisation and international trade. 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 164 Members. The WTO plays a crucial role in preventing international trade disputes from escalating into trade wars. However, WTO law not only plays an important role in state-to-state relations, it also affects each of us directly, as it significantly influences, for example, the price of the cars we drive and the quality of food we eat. The course addresses the following themes: • International trade and the WTO as an institution (on the phenomenon of economic globalisation, the arguments for and against free trade, the law of the WTO and the history, objectives, structure, functions, decision-making and membership of the WTO); • Dispute settlement in the WTO; • Principles of non-discrimination (on the 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 • Trade liberalisation versus other societal values (on 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 exercises.
- The student acquires up-to-date knowledge of the institutional and core substantive law of the World Trade Organization;
- The student understands and is able to engage in discussion on legal issues relating to the World Trade Organization;
- The student can assess 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;
- The student is able to analyse and form a reasoned opinion with regard to true-to-life international trade problems;
- The student is able to write well-motivated legal opinions on international trade problems and to present these orally 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, 2020), or if this is not yet in print, the 4th edition of this book (2017). This book is available at the Studystore, Maastricht or can be ordered on Amazon.
- 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 a printout of these texts.
- Students are advised to consult the WTO website and the website of DG Trade of the European Commission (www.europa.eu.int), regularly, for information on the latest developments. The websites of major international newspapers, such as The Financial Times (www.ft.com) are also excellent sources of information.