Sustainable Development in Global Trade (WTO) Law

A.Y. 2020/2021
Overall hours
Learning objectives
The course aims at
- analyzing international trade law and its relationship with the international framework on sustainable development;
- Examining the main WTO covered agreements and Regional Trade Agreements, in light of the connected issues concerning sustainable development.
Expected learning outcomes
By the end of this course, students should be able to:
- understand and evaluate critically the international trade legal issues and their relationship with sustainable development;
- interpret the international trade legal provisions, taking account of the international legal framework on sustainable development;
- understand and evaluate critically the jurisprudence developed by the WTO in this field and the law-making process, as currently evolving within and out of the WTO;
- use their communication skills (written and oral) in this field, including arguing convincingly, with logical and legal thoroughness and propriety of legal language.
Course syllabus and organization

Single session

Lesson period
Second semester

Classes will be delivered in distance learning modality. They will be live-streamed on Microsoft Teams, following the lessons timetable. All classes will be recorded and will be available on the online platform until the end of the semester.

Students will be informed as soon as possible, through the ARIEL website of the Course, if there will be a possibility to attend in person some classes at the University premises. This possibility will depend upon the evolution of the emergency and related safety measures, and the needs and preferences of students. In this case, students willing to attend classes will be required to reserve their seat through the LezioniUnimi app ( Home > study > bachelor-and-master-study > following-your-programme-of-study >. Strict compliance with the COVID protocol (facemask-wearing, social distancing, hands disinfection, etc.) will be required in the classrooms and all the University premises. In any case, all classes will be live-streamed and recorded and will be available on the online platform, in order to meet the needs of those unable or unwilling to attend in person.

The course will alternate and combine lectures and seminar teaching and will be tailored to match the learning necessities of students attending physically and remotely alike. Classes may require prior readings and include pre-recorded components.

To cope with possible connection and/or time zone issues, simultaneous course attendance (i.e. connection on the platform at the scheduled time) will not be mandatory. However, the Course will be based on class interaction. Therefore, students are strongly advised to strive to be able to attend the online classes.

The course programme is unchanged. However, the specific contents of classes will adapt to the teaching methods outlined above.

Reference materials for each class will be adjusted to the distance learning modality and uploaded to the Ariel course website.

Assessment methods will not change, except that oral and written exam may take place by remote through distance learning platforms (Microsoft Teams for oral exams and for written exams). Instructions will be posted on the ARIEL website of the course.
In case the possibility of exams in persons will be reinstated at the material time, students unable to be physically present will be offered an alternative method from distance.
Course syllabus
Part I (dr. Benedetta Cappiello)

International trade and the law of the WTO
- Introduction to the WTO: a background
- focus on the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (the GATT)
- the national treatment clause
- the most favored nation clause
- Rules on market access: tariffs and quantitative restrictions

Focus on WTO and Human Rights protection
- Art. XX: how to apply it
- art. XX: environmental protection

WTO and the dispute settlement system
- Rules of procedure
- the crisis

Part II (dr. Francesco Cazzini)

Sustainable development in trade of goods
- Rules regarding the harmonization of national rules: WTO Law on TBT & SPS measures
- trade, agriculture and food security
- innovation and intellectual property protection: foundations and challenges
- WTO law on subsidies and countervailing measures
- international economic law and the pursuit of core societal values and interests

Beyond the WTO
- Mega-Regional trade agreements and the future of the WTO
- US-China trade war
- the treatment of developing countries.
- extending the scope of WTO law (?)
Prerequisites for admission
A good command over international law is recommended.
Teaching methods
The course is entirely taught in English.
Class attendance is mandatory (75% of the total classes).
The didactic method combines both traditional approach (lectures, case-studies) and more informal or interactive methods.
Teaching Resources
A list of suggested and mandatory readings is available on-line (ARIEL platform). The detailed course programme is provided at the beginning of the course.
Assessment methods and Criteria
Students are evaluated through their participation during the course (30%) and on the basis of a final oral exam (70%).
IUS/13 - INTERNATIONAL LAW - University credits: 6
Lessons: 42 hours
To set up an appointment, please write an e-mail to: