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International Trade and Development Law (6 ECTS)

Lecturer(s): dr. mr. A.J.J. de Hooghprof. dr. M.M.T.A. Brus (coordinator)

When: Block 4

Brief course description: 
The World Trade Organization deals with the global rules of trade between nations. Its overriding purposes are to regulate the trade in goods and services, to prevent unnecessary and discriminatory measures, and in this way to help trade flow as freely as possible — so long as there are no undesirable side effects — because this is important for economic development and well-being ( This course is intended to explore and discuss the complex field of international trade law, in particular the legal regime of the WTO, as a distinctive branch of international law and to investigate whether and how the liberalization of international trade supports or hampers economic development and well-being in developing countries. Many international documents and conferences have called “to develop further an open, rule-based, predictable, non-discriminatory trading and financial system” (Millennium Development goal 8). In 2001, the WTO members states committed themselves to “continue to make positive efforts designed to ensure that developing countries, and especially the least-developed among them, secure a share in the growth of world trade commensurate with the needs of their economic development”. Answering this question requires an understanding what development means and of international development law. Exploring the right to development will for instance be a part of the course.
The course will address the rules of international trade law as developed and applied in the context of the WTO, with the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) as a core legal instrument, and the structure and relevant case law of the WTO system for settlement of trade-related disputes. Particular attention will be given to analysing general exceptions within the trade law regime to balance trade law with general objectives of for example human rights protection, preservation of the environment and the promotion of sustainable development, and specific privileges and exemptions for developing countries. Furthermore the development of international development law will be discussed and investigated, including the legal implications of the Sustainable Development Goals of 2015.

Teaching method:
lecture, working groups (tutorials). Attendance compulsory. 
The course will be taught in a combination of lectures, discussions and presentations. The lectures will focus on introducing and discussing the legal regime, whereas in the discussion and presentations students will engage in academic dialogue related to the international trade and development regime on the basis of a reading list. The exact format will be depending on the number of participants.

Assessment: Paper, written exam (essay questions).

*Official course information and schedules during the academic year can be found in Ocasys.

Last modified:13 August 2018 1.36 p.m.