Welcome to the course on International Trade Law, I hope you will find the study on international trade law rules interesting and engaging. The course seeks to provide students with thorough knowledge and insight about the multilateral trading system as encapsulated by the World Trade Organization.

The course commences with a general introduction and explanatory foundation of the World Trade Organization and the economies behind why countries are member states of the WTO system. Following the more general foundation, the course deals with substantive principles including the MFN clause, market access, non-discrimination, National Treatment, Safeguard measures, subsidies. 

The course thereafter deals with dispute settlement which is an integral part of the WTO system and international trade more generally. In class students will examine the merits and demerits of the WTO dispute settlement process and why the system faces daunting challenges especially when addressing development countries concerns. Subsequently, the course deals with regional and bilateral trade agreements and the overall importance of such agreements in enhancing and strengthening the multilateral trading system. Following this the course deals with policy exceptions within the WTO trading system.

The class will conclude off with a more ambitious theme on the intersection of trade and investment which provides a holistic approach to trade law and combines the same with aspects of investment law. For instance, as a result of countries failing to agree on a multilateral trade and investment agreement, countries have resorted to concluding bilateral investment agreements (BITs). In essence, the WTO now regulates trade law while investment protection and promotion is regulated by separate agreements. The question then becomes what is the impact of these agreements and by extension what is the impact of investment agreements concluded between African states and developed countries? This part of the course is intended to give students an opportunity to appreciate both trade and investment law as distinct areas of study but with normative similarities. It is also intended to encourage students practice within the convenes of both areas and possibly produce academic research on both trade and investment law.

Learning Outcomes

This course is intended to give students both theoretical and practical insights into the rules regulating international trade law. Students will acquire thorough knowledge on the nuts and bolts of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) especially the origin, rules and the principles embedded in the GATT.

Students will also acquire in-depth understanding on the WTO dispute settlement system and link the same to developing countries concerns. At the end of the course, students will understand trade rules regulating tariffs and non-tariffs and the impact of trade policy rules in the relationship between states. More broadly, at the end of the course students will be able to advice governments and clients on substantive provisions of trade law rules, participate in litigation, negotiate trade agreements, conduct research on trade law and solve trade disputes between countries. 

Teaching Approach

The classes will be conducted in form of interactive discussion seminars and English will be the medium of communication.

Students are expected to read the teaching material provided by the lecturer before attending class. This will enhance thorough understanding of the content and facilitate class discussion.

Mode of Evaluation

The method of evaluation will be multifold, (i) Attendance and participation in class discussions; (ii) group assignments; (iii) individual exam. The format of the group assignment and individual examination will be discussed in class.

Attendance and participation

Attendance and participation during class is compulsory.

Course Material

I have prepared reading material for each unit of the class including the required cases. Please note jurisprudence is a critical part of this course and as such you are expected to read the prescribed cases in the reading material.

I have also provided a sample of questions to guild you as you go through the material. The questions are geared at facilitating students know what to expect in assignments and the exam and also facilitate in distilling the kind of knowledge required in different aspects of the work.

Indicative Units

The following are the units expected to be covered in class, please refer to the reading material for detailed learning outcomes for each unit and the content to be covered.

  • Unit 1: Foundations of International Trade Law and the International Legal Structure
  • Unit 2: The Most-Favored Nation Treatment (MFN) Principle Under the WTO
  • Unit 3: The National Treatment Principle Under the WTO Trading System
  • Unit 4: Safeguard Measures Under the WTO Trading System
  • Unit 5: Subsidies under the WTO Trading System
  • Unit 6: The WTO Dispute Settlement System
  • Unit 7: Regional and Bilateral Trade Agreements
  • Unit 8: Public Policy Exceptions
  • Unit 9: The Intersection of Trade and Investment.

Contact details:

Dr. Richard Karugarama Lebero

Phone: +250787374572 

email: richardleberok@gmail.com

My very best wishes and good luck! 

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