International Trade Law and Environment

International Trade Law and Environment - Professor Chris Wold

  • Course Number: LAW-531
  • Course Type: Foundational
  • Credits: 3
  • Enrollment Limit: Determined by the Registrar
  • Description: This course provides an in-depth treatment of international trade law by examining its frequent clash with environmental goals and law. International trade law, as embodied in the World Trade Organization, GATT, and the US-Mexico-Canada Free Trade Agreement, establishes rules to reduce barriers to trade in goods, services, and investments. It does so by prohibiting countries from discriminating against foreign products based on the way they are produced (e.g., unsustainable fishing practices or without pollution control technology), limiting the use of quotas and subsidies to meet national goals, requiring substantial scientific evidence to justify restrictions on pesticide levels on food to protect human health, and restricting the authority of national and sub-national governments to favor local investors over foreign investors. Despite these rules, countries often use trade measures to restrict imports of environmentally harmful products or products produced in unsustainable ways. They also subsidize environmentally preferable products. such as solar panels. By examining trade law and its trade liberalizing rules in light of environmental protection, students will explore areas of convergence and conflict between two legal regimes intended to promote human welfare and sustainable development. The course analyzes all the major trade-environment disputes, including Shrimp/Turtle, Tuna/Dolphin, the European ban on meat products containing growth hormones, disputes over genetically modified foods, solar panels, and carbon taxes. No prior familiarity with either trade law or environmental law is necessary. Grading is based on a final examination. Course Materials: Wold, Gaines, & Block, Trade and the Environment: Law and Policy (3d ed. 2022).
  • Prerequisite: None
  • Evaluation Method: Class participation and final exam. The final exam will be scheduled.
  • Capstone: no
  • WIE: no