Institut d'etudes Européennes
De l'Université libre de Bruxelles

EUROPE AND WOLRD TRADE (3 ECTS) - Paola Conconi (ULB and FNRS) and Harm Schepel (Brussels School of International Studies - University of Kent)

In an era of globalization, in which most countries are members of the World Trade Organization (WTO), governments negotiate new trade agreements, and firms are increasingly operate in foreign markets, it may be tempting to conclude that trade barriers are vanishing and trade is almost free. Unfortunately, this is not the case, since the world trading system is characterized by overlapping layers of regulations, which may be less visible than import tariffs, but can be even more detrimental. The main objective of this course is to understand the impediments to free trade from an economics and legal perspective.

The first part of the course will be taught by Paola Conconi and will cover three main areas. First, it will review the economics gains from international trade. Second, we will discuss the reasons why, notwithstanding such gains, governments often use protectionist policies. Third, we will discuss the rational for multilateral trade rules and look at some international disputes that have involved the European Union.

The second part of the course will be taught by Edwin Vermulst and will cover two topics: the main principles of the GATT/WTO, which regulate the world trading system; and trade defense instruments (anti-dumping duties, countervailing duties, and safeguards), which are the most commonly used border measures to provide protection to domestic producers in developed and developing countries.  This part of the course may involve some case studies of EU TDI measures that were challenged in the WTO by third countries.


Learning Objectives :

The course is meant to give students a basic knowledge of the legal and economic principles that govern the international trading system and the role of the European Union in it.


Learning Outcomes :

Students who will attend this course will learn what are the key drivers of international trade, the costs and benefits of protection, the reasons for trade agreements, the key principles of the GATT/WTO and the functioning of its dispute settlement system. 


Methods of teaching :

The course will consist of two parts, covering 12 hours each: a legal part hours taught by Prof. Harm Schepel and an economic part taught by Professor Paola Conconi. The teachers will provide lectures notes and reading materials, including cases studies of trade disputes involving the European Union as a complaining party or a respondent. 


Course requirements and grading :

Students will be expected to attend and classes and participate actively in the discussion.The grade for the course will be based on a final written exam.