LAWS338-21S2 (C) Semester Two 2021

World Trade Law

15 points

Start Date: Monday, 19 July 2021
End Date: Sunday, 14 November 2021
Withdrawal Dates
Last Day to withdraw from this course:
  • Without financial penalty (full fee refund): Sunday, 1 August 2021
  • Without academic penalty (including no fee refund): Friday, 1 October 2021


An examination of the major agreements and institutions relating to international trade and development.

This course will provide an introduction to the regulation of international trade under the auspices of the World Trade Organization (WTO). New Zealand is a Member of the WTO, the organization responsible for regulating trade in goods, services and intellectual property at the international level. Moreover, these days trade rules impact on more than just trade: they restrict (or at least impact upon) Members’ policies in connection with (but not limited to) the environment, human rights, health, and culture.

The course will cover the institutional rules of the WTO set out in the WTO Agreement, the procedural rules set out in the Dispute Settlement Understanding (DSU), as well as the substantive rules. As to the substantive law, the course will focus on the three core WTO agreements, namely:
• the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (in goods) (GATT),
• the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS), and
• the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS).

The GATT lays down the basic principles of trade liberalization and will therefore take centre stage. One of the main themes will be the relationship between the WTO rules and competing social policies, with special emphasis on trade and the environment. As far as trade in services is concerned, we will elaborate the differences in the way the WTO regulates trade in goods and services.

Learning Outcomes

  • Students will be expected to gain a solid knowledge of the relevant legal framework and to develop their capacity to critically analyse issues and developments in this field.  This course will be of interest to students wanting to know more about the international trade rules and their impact on business and public policy, and to broaden their knowledge of international law.
    Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

    For the Essay -
  •  Carry out independent research
  •  Communicate the findings of their research
  •  Understand and explain the relationship between the WTO agreements and selected other instruments
  •  Locate relevant primary materials
  •  Subject those primary materials to critical analysis and use them to create an argument based on international law
  •  Relate the knowledge acquired to current matters of international concern.

    For the Final Exam -
  •  Identify legal issues in factual scenarios and construct legal responses to those issues
  •  Understand, interpret, apply and critique the WTO agreements and other relevant legal instruments
  •  Read, understand, interpret and critique treaties and the rules relating to their operation.
    • University Graduate Attributes

      This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attributes specified below:

      Critically competent in a core academic discipline of their award

      Students know and can critically evaluate and, where applicable, apply this knowledge to topics/issues within their majoring subject.

      Globally aware

      Students will comprehend the influence of global conditions on their discipline and will be competent in engaging with global and multi-cultural contexts.


Course Coordinator / Lecturer

Christian Riffel


Assessment Due Date Percentage 
Essay 24 Sep 2021 35%
Final Examination 65%

This course may be assessed by way of an essay (35%) and a final exam (65%).

The assessment in this course will be confirmed in the first week of lectures.

Textbooks / Resources

Recommended Reading

Bossche, P., Zdouc, W; The Law and Policy of the World Trade Organization : Text, Cases and Materials ; 4th edition; Cambridge University Press, 2017.

Indicative Fees

Domestic fee $831.00

International fee $4,200.00

* All fees are inclusive of NZ GST or any equivalent overseas tax, and do not include any programme level discount or additional course-related expenses.

For further information see Faculty of Law .

All LAWS338 Occurrences

  • LAWS338-21S2 (C) Semester Two 2021