International Trade, Investment, and Sustainable Development: Reconciling Open Markets with Environmental and Social Concerns
LL.M Seminar 793 (cross-listed)
| 2 credit hours
This course will focus on the legal, institutional and political interplay at the global and regional level that is shaping the way governments strike the balance between policies aimed at economic integration and growth, and those aimed at achieving broader social and environmental objectives. The discussion will be framed by the prevailing internationally agreed development targets reflected in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The MDGs have set the agenda for global poverty reduction and sustainable development between now and 2015.
The legal core of the seminar will be the rules and institutions created by selected regional and bilateral investment treaties, and the trade and intellectual property rules under the World Trade Organization. These agreements determine the terms under which products, services, capital and, to some extent, labor and knowledge, flow between their parties. They have been praised as engines of growth, and criticized as perpetuating unfair terms of trade that benefit the rich at the expense of the poor. From either perspective these instruments of global economic integration are the most important source of international treaty law and practice in contemporary international relations.
Trade and investment agreements share principles that discourage protectionism and discrimination between foreign and domestic products and services; promote greater market access through the reduction of tariffs, quotas, and other non-tariff barriers; and promote the harmonization of international standards with regard to product-related health and safety. Increasingly, these institutions also share a commitment to "sustainable development", and to maintaining environmental and labor standards in the face of the sharpening competition that can come with economic liberalization.
Following an introduction to and overview of the institutions and rules governing international flows of products, services, capital, labor and knowledge, the seminar will focus on legal and political conflicts that have arisen as the rules of economic liberalisation have collided with efforts aimed more specifically at protecting the environment, alleviating hunger and disease, and creating employment.
The seminar will cover the following themes and issues and seek to develop a better understanding of the legal standards and principles states use to reconcile conflicts as they arise:
1.Introduction to the Law and Economics of Development Policy, Environmental Protection and Economic Liberalisation
2.Introduction to the Law and Institutions of the World Trade Organization: rules governing the trade in products, services and intellectual property rights
3.Introduction to the Law and Institutions of Regional and Bilateral Investment Treaties: protecting foreign investors and investments
4.Tariff Preferences as Means of Promoting Sustainable Economic Development: The Banana Wars and India's challenge to EU Tariff Preferences
5.Market Access and Environmental and Health Standards: The Shrimp Turtle and Asbestos Disputes
6.Combating hunger by promoting Food Safety, Food Security, and Food Aid: The Case of Genetically Modified Agricultural Products
7.Liberalizing foreign direct investment as a means of promoting access to clean water and sanitation: The Case of Bechtel and Cochabamba, Bolivia
8.Liberalization and the Trade in Services as a Means of Job Creation: Economic migration and outsourcing
9.Intellectual Property Rights as Means of Promoting Innovation and the Transfer of Technology necessary for development: The debate over ensuring affordable access to essential medicines at the WTO
10.Theories and approaches to improving global governance and managing conflicts between competing internationally agreed objectives: Tensions and collaboration between the WTO, the Bretton Woods Institutions, and the UN System
Course Materials: Required reading for the course will be provided over the Blackboard system, and will include a variety of academic pieces, "grey literature"
and primary materials, including treaty texts and dispute settlement reports. There is no required text book for the course, but students are encouraged to have available a general treatise in international economic law and relations, such as The Regulation of International Trade M.J. Trebilcock and R Howse (3rd ed)(Routledge: 2005) OR International Economic Law, A Lowenfeld (OUP: 2002)
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