Spring 2020 - 58422 - PA 388K - Advanced Topics in Public Policy

International Trade

This course will focus on the law and policy of the World Trade Organization (WTO) -- an institution that was created in 1995 and has been the source of controversy ever since.

Understanding WTO rules has become increasingly vital in today's world of intense global competition. WTO rules spell out the conditions under which governments can:

restrict imports, exports & intellectual property rights;
regulate worker & product safety;
address environmental concerns (such as climate policy & resource conservation);
regulate economic services (including financial, legal & energy services); &
subsidize, promote and protect specific farming & business interests.

Topics include: the economic and political debate over trade liberalization and offshoring; the relationship of WTO law to national law; the history and structure of the WTO; the WTO dispute settlement mechanism; and the substantive rules governing tariff & non-tariff barriers to trade (e.g. the principles of most favored nation and national treatment and rules on anti-dumping and countervailing duties). Some of the current topics that we will discuss include progress in the WTO Doha Round of negotiations; the debate over preferential trade agreements such as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and now-defunct Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP); and the debate over China's alleged manipulation of its currency.

By the end of the semester you should be in a position to identify and analyze potential claims & defenses available under WTO rules under a variety of fact patterns. This knowledge will give you a new perspective on current economic and political debates, and help you provide counsel to business clients, trade associations & unions; government policy makers and legislators active in economic policy; non-profits and other non-governmental organizations (NGOs) active in field such as climate policy, natural resource conservation, and human rights advocacy. There are no prerequisites.