course
DI064 | Autumn | 6 ECTS

International Trade Law

These are challenging days for the global trade governance system. Economic interdependence between countries and across production chains continues to grow, and stable rules on international trade and investment appear to be key. But the tide of (political) history seems to have turned against globalization. The United States seems to be turning its back on the rules of the World Trade Organization (WTO), even though it has historically been the chief architect and driving force of the system. Should and can the WTO, including the highly successful dispute settlement system, be reformed? Can this be achieved against the backdrop of a giant economic struggle between the US and China, all the while rapid technological advances are changing economic life, trade flows as well as trade and industrial policies? Against this backdrop, this course offers practical, in-depth knowledge of substantive WTO law and legal policy, drawing heavily on the jurisprudence of WTO panels and the Appellate Body. We will cover the core disciplines of trade in goods and in services as well as the specialized WTO agreements on, for example, health measures, technical standards, subsidies, anti-dumping measures, and intellectual property rights. We will learn how WTO law balances the need for clear rules against unjustified protectionism with the need to preserve legitimate regulatory space at the national level. We will also cover timely topics such as subsidies for green (renewable) energy and the co-existence of the WTO with regional trade agreements (including 'mega-regionals' like CPTPP). Students will become acquainted with the unique WTO trade dispute settlement mechanism, its procedures and its current deep crisis. Beyond the existing rules and disciplines, we will also touch on the current WTO reform efforts as well as anti-globalization developments such as Brexit, the protectionist agenda of the Trump administration, the US - China 'trade war', and the apparent convergence of economic policy and national security concerns.