World Trade Law
This module investigates the multilateral trade system organised under the auspices of the World Trade Organisation ("WTO"). It begins by considering the rationales for liberalised trade, and then explores the WTO system itself, paying particular attention to its dispute settlement mechanism before focusing on the rules applicable to trade in goods, including environmental and other exceptions to those rules, the regimes governing anti-dumping measures and subsidies and countervailing measures.
The module then investigates the WTO rules controlling the way in which Member States regulate the health and safety of foods and animal health and governing the making of technical regulations relating to products. It then focuses on the WTO provisions applicable to trade in services and to trade-related aspects of intellectual property.
A theme which runs through the whole of the module is the question of the ways, in an era of globalisation, in which the WTO system constrains the regulatory autonomy of Member States to regulate markets and to reconcile markets and social needs within their own territories. In addressing that theme the course addresses important questions as to the impact of the WTO system on developing states, its impact on consumer autonomy, questions of democratic legitimacy and of the ideological context within which the WTO regime operates. In doing so it touches on areas of topical controversy.
- Should the ability of Member States to ban the marketing of meat with artificial growth hormones be subject to WTO control?
- Is it acceptable for the WTO to be able to overturn domestic legislation preventing the sale of tuna caught by means which kill dolphins and sea turtles in the open sea?
- Does the WTO system treat the poorest countries fairly or does it serve the interests of already powerful countries and their multinational corporations?
- How have WTO rules impacted on the possibility of providing anti-retroviral drugs to those infected with HIV/AIDS in developing states?