International trade law

A.Y. 2021/2022
Overall hours
Learning objectives
This course offers a solid knowledge of the fundamentals of international trade law and seeks to expose the students to the major challenges faced by the global trading system established under the World Trade Organization (WTO), from the economic nationalism to the conclusion of preferential trade agreements. It focuses on the WTO rules and covers the core disciplines of trade in goods and trade in services as well as the more specialized WTO agreement on the protection of intellectual property rights. The analysis of substantive WTO law will rely on the case law, thus providing a practical understanding of the implications of trade law on domestic policies. In particular, the course will pay due consideration to trade disputes on the protection of the environment and of human health and life, and address the relationship between the global trading system and preferential trade agreements.
Expected learning outcomes
At the end of the course, students will be able to apply the basic concepts of public international law to the realm of inter-State trade relations. In particular, they will have acquired a solid knowledge of the fundamentals of international trade law established under the WTO and preferential trade agreements and be able to grasp the implication of the international trade agreements on the design and implementation of domestic policies. These objectives will be achieved through the direct involvement of students in the analysis of real and hypothetical case studies and in on/off-line activities. This will contribute in strengthening their ability in oral and written communication and their critical analysis skills.
Course syllabus and organization

Single session

Lesson period
Second trimester
More specific information on the delivery modes of teaching activities for academic year 2021/2022 will be provided over the coming months, based on the evolution of the public health situation.
Course syllabus
The multilateral trading system: the establishment of the WTO; its functions; general structure of the WTO agreements; challenges against the WTO law.
The multilateral discipline on trade in goods: WTO rules on market access and non-discrimination; trade remedies against unfair practices; the protection of societal interests and values under the WTO agreements on trade in goods.
The WTO discipline on trade in services: general and specific obligations; the WTO rules on domestic disciplines on the functioning of domestic service markets.
The protection of intellectual property rights (e.g, patents and trademarks) under the multilateral trading regime.
The legal status of developing countries under WTO law: definition of developing countries and least developed countries; the legitimacy of the generalized system of preferences under WTO law; special and differential treatment under the WTO multilateral trade agreements.
The relationship between the multilateral trading system and regional/preferential trade agreements. The EU trade policy under the Treaty of Lisbon and its evolution.
Prerequisites for admission
Students are highly recommended to pass the exam of International Law (second year) before taking the exam of International Trade Law.
Teaching methods
During the course, frontal lessons will alternate with presentations by and debates among students. For each topic covered by the course, lessons frontal and/or students' presentations will focus on: a) the political background; b) the relevant legal regime and the challenges raised by its interpretation, application and enforcement; c) specific case studies and case law.
At the beginning of classes, a detailed syllabus will be available on the Moodle website of the course. For each topic, it will provide detailed information about the reading materials and a set of questions that will be discussed during classes. Before classes, students are highly recommended to read the relevant materials and prepare their own answers to the questions listed for each topic.
Learning activities will also include on-line and off-line activities through the Moodle website ( active as of December 2021.
Teaching Resources
Peter Van den Bossche, Denise Prévost, Essentials of WTO Law, 2nd edition, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2021.
Further materials will be uploaded on the Moodle website of the course.
Assessment methods and Criteria
The final written exam aims at assessing the ability: a) to identify the relevant legal provisions applicable to a specific topic or case study; b) to determine the scope and content of international trade law rules on the basis of previous arbitral and judicial case law; c) to properly formulate legal reasonings and argumentations; d) to evaluate from an international legal perspective the practice followed by States in their mutual trade relationships.
IUS/13 - INTERNATIONAL LAW - University credits: 9
Lessons: 60 hours
Professor: Adinolfi Giovanna
Thursday (4-7 p.m.) by Skype (giovanna.adinolfi). Office hour of 22 July 2021 is suspended.
Department of International, Legal and Historical-Political Studies, 3rd floor, Room 29.