Categories: Business, Corporate, Commercial Law International and Comparative Law


Yackee, Jason

Course Data

Room 3253
MW 10:30am-11:50am

Pass/Fail: Yes

Course Description


Materials: Casebook: International Trade Law: Theory and Practice by Raj Bhala (Lexis 2001), together with Documents Supplement (Lexis 2001).


This course introduces students to the legal, business and policy aspects of international trade, focusing on United States trade law within the context of the WTO-GATT Agreements. There are no prerequisites for this course and no background in economics, international relations or international law is assumed. The course will cover the following matters.

I. The Foundations of International Trade Law and their Critique. What is the "law of comparative advantage"? What are the arguments for and against liberalizing trade? From an economic standpoint? From other standpoints? What are the effects of tariffs, quotas and other import barriers on welfare? Which are preferable? What is the basis for a strategic trade policy? How does the increased mobility of corporations affect trade theory and policy? What about technological developments? What lies behind the politics of "protectionist" policies? Of "free trade" policies? Why do nations remain within the WTO-GATT regime? Is the US sacrificing its sovereign authority?

II. The International Legal Structure: The WTO, GATT and NAFTA. What are the origins of the World Trade Organization (the WTO) and the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT)? What were the major results of the Uruguay Round/WTO negotiations? What is the structure of the WTO? What is the relation of US domestic law to the WTO Agreements? What is the procedure for resolving trade disputes before the WTO? What is the "most favored nation" clause? The "national treatment" clause? How do NAFTA and other regional trade agreements relate to the WTO Agreements? Why all the controversy over NAFTA?

III. International Trade and Domestic Standards, including Environmental and Health Standards. How much discretion should a country have in setting its own standards? Must there be a scientific basis to such standards? When can standards be a disguised barrier to trade? Should standards be harmonized to facilitate international trade? Should countries be permitted to employ trade sanctions in an effort to protect the environment outside of such country's territory?

IV. Industrial Safeguards and Adjustment Assistance. What is the "escape clause" and what is the rationale for it? What are the normative bases for providing (or refusing to provide) adjustment assistance to displaced workers and firms seriously injured by competition from foreign imports? What procedures exist?

V. Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Law. Why are there rules against the "dumping" of goods across borders? against the granting of subsidies by foreign governments to foreign producers? What is a subsidy and when is a subsidy countervailable? Are antidumping and subsidy rules disguised protectionist barriers to trade? How does one bring an antidumping and/or countervailing duty suit against a foreign producer? What does one need to show? How are the rules different under NAFTA?

VI. Unilateral US Retaliation against Foreign Practices. How is "Section 301" of the U.S. trade statutes used to open foreign markets? What is the procedure? What needs to be shown? Why do foreign governments criticize this provision? Will the U.S. be less likely to use "Section 301" now that the WTO Agreements are in effect?

VII. Trade and Intellectual Property Rights. What is the rationale for integrating intellectual property rights into the WTO system? Was this a mistake? What does the TRIPs Agreement provide in respect of developing countries' obligations in respect of pharmaceutical and other patents?

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