This unit is a comprehensive introduction to the law of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and to the context of economics and politics within which the law operates. It also offers some comparisons with regulation under bilateral and regional trade agreements. It can be taken as either a stand-alone introduction to WTO law or to acquire a solid basis for further study of WTO law. (Students may wish to continue on to take LAWS6249 World Trade Organization Law II which builds upon the knowledge gained in this unit and considers some additional topics of WTO law.) The introductory topic considers the functions of the WTO through the consideration of some basic economics of trade and of public choice. We review the history of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) and the creation of the Agreement Establishing the WTO ending with a review of the institutions of the WTO and of the framework of rules applying under the GATT (and comparing with some bilateral and regional trade agreements). There follows a detailed study of the WTO dispute settlement system, under the WTO Understanding on Dispute Settlement, its concepts, procedures and enforcement. We study the framework of rules under the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) and compare it with the negative list approach used under some bilateral and regional trade agreements; and the rules of the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property (TRIPS), emphasizing patents, copyright and trademarks, and noting some TRIPS plus aspects of some bilateral and regional trade agreements. The unit analyses in more detail some of the fundamental rules of the GATT: rules on tariff bindings and customs duties, national treatment, non-tariff barriers, the MFN rule on non-discrimination and an introduction to the rules on subsidies. We conclude with a synopsis of WTO developments to the present day. This unit is assessed in two ways: an essay on the object and function of the WTO system and its dispute settlement system; and an exam requiring students to apply the basic rules of the GATT, GATS and TRIPS to fact situations.
Aug 24, 25 and Sep 21, 22 (9-5.30)
3000 to 3500wd essay (40%) and take-home exam (60%)
limited knowledge of law of treaties
LAWS3439 or LAWS5139