As part of a continuing series on Spring 2018 semester courses that relate to innovation and business, this post spotlights International Trade Law: Basic Norms and Regulation.  

Professor Christopher Rossi’s International Trade Law course will introduce the basic norms and legal framework of international trade. Among the controversies examined will be the economic and philosophical justifications for, and objections to, free trade from a variety of perspectives. 

There are no prerequisites, and students are not required to have any prior understanding of international economics or models of trade. But the course itself will be an invaluable foundation for any law student interested in international law. 

“International trade law, in my view, is a prerequisite for anyone looking into international economic law,” said Professor Rossi. “This is a fundamental class in international law, and it canvases the relevant and variegated influences that affect the movement of goods and services, ideas, and protections related to intellectual property.” 

The course surveys the basic provisions of the General Agreement of Tariffs and Trade (GATT) and World Trade Organization agreements, including Most Favored Nation, National Treatment, Technical Barriers, and provisions on quantitative restrictions, government procurement, and exemption and limitation clauses. It also looks at the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) and the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). The course also considers the remedies available at both the national and international levels.  

International Trade Law concludes with a robust examination of many of the issues raised by contemporary international trade policies. Within the basic theme of globalization, these include the relationship between the international trade regime and third world or developing states, the nexus between trade and the environment, and the tensions among labor and human rights and the benefits of free trade.  

Students will learn about tensions confronted internationally with the international liberal model (emphasizing free trade and open markets) from regional perspectives, including Latin America and Africa, and institutional perspectives relating to the developmental models within the United Nations. They will also learn about these issues from perspectives involving trade and human rights, the environment, and sustainable development. 

“Students are going to gain an appreciation of the complexity of the liberal model of trade and the regime structure relating to its management, as well as the tensions that call into question some of the fundamentals of the liberal model of the World Trade Organization,” said Professor Rossi.  

The course may require students to give in-class presentations on individual cases, in addition to a traditional final exam at the end of the semester.  

International Trade Law is a three-credit course. There will be one required textbook (with acceptable older versions) and an optional supplement.