Module 1: The World Trade Organisation and International Commercial Law


A thorough grounding in WTO law and international commerce is essential to understanding the system of global trade. Accordingly, this module investigates the development of world trade and commercial instruments, the benefits and disadvantages of enhanced market liberalisation and how non-tariff barriers affect the free movement of goods.


The World Trade Organisation

  • Decision-making, dispute settlement
  • Agreements and legal principles
  • Trade facilitation, market access and trade negotiations

International Commercial Law

  • Institutions, terminology and formation of contract
  • UN Convention on the Sale of Goods, INCOTERMS
  • Drafting and construction of contracts,
  • Remedies and arbitration (ISDS: UNCITRAL, ICSID etc.)

Discussion Topics

  • Pros and cons of trade liberalisation, policing WTO agreements, contemporary role of the WTO, reform proposals
  • Challenges to trade facilitation: non-tariff trade barriers and their effects
  • Bilateral trade agreements and ISDS; future of the WTO

Learning Outcomes

Participants will be able to:

  • understand the aims and functions of the WTO and other bodies regulating international trade and how they interrelate;
  • identify potential pitfalls in contractual dealings; exploit commercial instruments in contractual dealings; know the available legal remedies to deal with breach of contract;
  • understand how customs and financial regulatory bodies facilitate international commerce and implement the aims of the WTO.