The course of International Trade Law is proposed in the third year of the bachelor programme. It complements the other courses of the curriculum on International Trade, i.e. two other courses in legal studies (Commercial Law and Private International Law), one in economics (International Economics) and one in historical studies (History of International Economic Relations).
Moving primarily from a legal perspective, students are confronted with the complexity and interdependence of social, political and economic situations which underpin the regulation of international trade relations among States. The aim of the course is surveying, analyzing (in particular under the framework of the World Trade Organization) and systematizing hard and soft law rules stemming from international, European Union's, and internal law. Students will get familiar of how these regulations affect the sovereignty of WTO Members at different levels and in the different sectors (trade in goods, trade in services, trade- related aspects of intellectual property rights, dispute resolution mechanisms). Students are also meant to appreciate how the overlapping of different rules and targets requires finding a balance between competing of domestic interests and goals. The course surveys the trends in multilateral and bilateral trade negotiations on conflicting national interests and on the relationship between developed and developing countries. During lectures, interventions, group presentations and confrontation among groups will allow students to learn how to discuss practical cases and define their essential features from different perspectives.
Expected learning outcomes
International trade law is increasingly called to mediate between the objectives of economic growth and the protection of widespread general rights and interests (for example health protection, access to knowledge and information, environment protection, food safety, human rights, fight against corruption). The course, in particular through the analysis of WTO law and practice, the examination of cases and the monitoring of current events, aims at strengthening the ability to a critical approach to complex situations and to recognize the increasing interdependency in international economic relations. Students will be able to frame protectionist tendencies in national economic policies and to link to them the possible risks with respect to the governance of international relations. Students achieve the ability to recognize the interests underlying specific situations, to identify the reference rules in the law of the World Trade Organization. They will become familiar with framing cases in the appropriate regulatory context at different levels, envisaging the possible solutions depending on different perspectives such as e.g. the one of a specific State or group of States, of the European Union, of the civil society.
Lesson period: Second trimester
(In case of multiple editions, please check the period, as it may vary)
The course is ideally developed in two moments. The first module addresses the following topics: the origin of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, the origin of the World Trade Organization, the institutional structure and the competences of the WTO, the treatment of last and least developed countries, the adhesion to the WTO, tariff and non-tariff barriers to trade in goods, anti-dumping duties and countervailing measures, the European Union in the WTO, the Doha Round , agriculture, sanitary and phytosanitary measures, technical barriers to trade, non-trade issues, environment, social clause and food security and multilateral trade regulation, discussion on WTO reform and future, last generation economic partnership agreements and their relationship with the multilateral trading system. (Reference material: G. Venturini, The World Trade Organization, third edition, 2015, Giuffré, Milan, p. 3-149; The texts and documents published in the second part of the volume integrate the essays of the first part. They must be consulted during the study and known within the limits necessary for a better understanding of the topics addressed) The program for non-attending students includes the World Trade Organization: the institutional structure, the competences of the WTO, the treatment of the least developed countries, the entry of new members into the WTO, tariff and non-tariff obstacles tariff in international trade in goods, anti-dumping duties and trade defense measures, subsidies, the European Union in the WTO, the Doha Round, the negotiation on agriculture, sanitary and phytosanitary measures, technical barriers to trade , issues of a non-commercial nature, environment, social and food safety clause and multilateral trade rules, the discussion on the reform of the WTO. The second module concerns the aspects of international trade law which affect internationalization processes of companies. It mainly addresses the Agreement on Intellectual Property Rights for trade-related aspects (TRIPs) and its objectives. The question of the impact of the cost of patents on drugs and access to them from is studied part of the poor countries. It will concern the protection of genetically modified products, the recognition of denominations of origin, as well as in the last monographic part of the trademark in the European community, of the legal instruments in the fight against piracy, counterfeiting and parallel imports, of the requests of the least developed countries with respect to the protection of knowledge traditional.
Prerequisites for admission
Students must be acquainted with fundamentals of international law (subjects of international law, sources, sovereignty in international law, international responsibility, treaty law) and with the law of the European Union. For this reason, passing the exam of Law of the European Union and the international community is preparatory to the course.
The didactic method alternates face-to-face lessons with individual student interventions upon the teacher's solicitation and with small group work. Current events are the object of attention and can act as a starting point towards the theoretical approach of the study subjects. Students' The didactic method favors the interaction of the teacher with the students and the students with each other in order to encourage teamwork and strengthen the critical spirit in an approach to the subject that aims, with respect to new themes, to refine the ability to contextualize the topics addressed with respect to reality, current affairs, opposing interests and above all the rules governing transnational economic relations. Case studies, press reviews and examination of materials distributed in the classroom are foreseen. Students are engaged in groups in case analysis and simulations and are asked to present the research results directly. In the presentations they must demonstrate that they have become familiar with the technical vocabulary, that they know how to structure their intervention, that they are able to identify the points of greatest interest and be able to convey them. The reference to WTO agreements and decisions taken by the Dispute Settlement Body remains central. The recommended textbooks are an essential support for teaching and individual study. Classroom interventions by students contribute to the definition of the exam mark. is stimulated on the importance of knowledge of regulatory sources.
G. Venturini, L'Organizzazione mondiale del commercio, terza edizione, 2015, Giuffré, Milano, p. 3-331
Assessment methods and Criteria
Verification of learning is oral and in the form of an interview, but it can also concern other experiential activities for attending students who want to deal with other learning techniques. For attending students there is the possibility of an intermediate learning test between the fourth and fifth week of the course in the form of an individual oral interview. The test concerns the World Trade Organization and the treatment of goods in the multilateral trading system. The positive result of the intermediate test will average for the final mark only if the complete exam is taken within the first two appeals from the end of the teaching course. Having passed the intermediate test is useful and important to be able to face the second part of the course on a solid and effective basis. The course methodology is mainly based on learning by doing and presupposes the solidity of the bases. Students who have passed the intermediate test can form a small working group (4 students). The group will be assigned a decision by the WTO dispute settlement body or the appeal body. The group will have to present a few minuts the results of the analysis of the case.