DATES: NOV 27 - DEC 1, 2017
TUITION: $1995





The creation of the WTO twenty years ago, with its effective enforcement system, vastly expanded the scope and effectiveness of the international trade system. The most significant recent developments affecting the system have been the adoption by the WTO of the Trade Facilitation Agreement, the first major multilateral trade agreement in more than twenty years, and the rapid growth of regional trade agreements. While providing an overview of the world trading system as a whole, the course will focus heavily on the implications of these important developments.

  • The Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA), adopted by the WTO in 2013 and expected to enter into force in late 2016 or early 2017, requires each Member to implement 37 specific obligations, all designed to streamline the international movement of goods. As developed countries already comply with all or most of the obligations, the burden of implementation will fall most heavily on developing countries.

  • Regional Trade Agreements (RTAs) have become an increasingly important part of the international trading system. RTAs already cover more than half of world trade, and massive new agreements are awaiting ratification or under negotiation. These include the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) (12 countries including the United States and Japan, covering around 40 percent of world trade), the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) between the United States and the EU, also accounting for about 40 percent of world trade, and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) (16 countries, including India, China, Japan and Korea, accounting for nearly 30 percent of world trade). There is also a great deal of RTA activity in Africa, as the many existing RTAs are consolidated with a view to eventually creating a single African Economic Union.

The course will examine the implications of these important developments. It is designed as a practical course that will assist trade officials in their work, provide hands-on advice on implementation of the TFA, and help enterprises to take full advantage of the opportunities provided by multilateral and regional trade agreements, as well as to deal with their challenges. It will be taught by present and former senior government officials, leading academics and practitioners, and officials from multinational organizations.

Course Outline

Background: the International Trading System

  • Creation and operation of the WTO
  • Rules governing trade in goods, services and intellectual property
  • WTO dispute settlement

The Trade Facilitation Agreement

  • Background and rationale
  • Overview of the Agreement
  • Implementation – categorization of requirements
  • Key issues:

    • Transparency
    • Advance rulings
    • Review procedures
    • Release of goods
    • Border agency cooperation
    • Formalities, including Single Window
    • Freedom of Transit
    • Customs Cooperation

Regional Trade Agreements

  • GATT and GATS provisions authorising RTAs
  • The pros and cons of RTAs
  • The growth of “Megaregionals”
  • Dispute settlement in RTAs
  • Particular issues:

    • Trade in goods – rules of origin
    • Trade in services
    • Intellectual property
    • Investment
    • Non-traditional issues – environment, labor, etc.


Course Advisor

Patrick Macrory is Director of ILI's International Trade Law Center. He was a senior partner in two of Washington's largest law firms, and has practiced trade law for more than forty years. He has taught international trade law at universities in Washington, London, and Tokyo. He has written extensively on the subject, and was Editor-in-Chief of a major multi-volume work on the WTO published in 2005.