International trade and the World Trade Organization attract a lot of attention and debate. Why do almost all economists say that liberalizing trade flows is a good thing? Why do politicians – even ones who purportedly support free markets – often rail against import competition and "unfair trade"? How does trade liberalization interact with other public policy choices such as protecting the environment or promoting the economic development of poor countries? In this course, we will examine why the WTO exists, how it developed from the GATT and how it fits in the international economic order (Part I). The course will offer you an in-depth, practical knowledge of substantive WTO law drawing heavily on case law. It will address the basic principles of trade in goods and trade in services, as well as some of the more specialized WTO agreements on, for example on trade remedies (subsidies, anti-dumping and safeguards). From a more procedural side, the course will pay close attention to the unique WTO mechanism for the solution of global trade disputes, with special reference again to recent and ongoing cases (Part II). It will conclude by examining U.S. trade law – particularly the widely-used trade remedies laws – and assessing not only the practice of international trade law in the United States, but also whether these laws actually achieve their supposed policy objectives (Part III). Although this course will necessarily address key principles and theories undergirding the international trade law system, one of its driving themes will be the actual practice of this discipline in the United States and at the WTO. The course will be graded based on class participation and an open-book final exam.
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