DATES: NOV 29 - DEC 3, 2021    
VENUE: LIVE ONLINE COURSE    apply now button  
TUITION: $2245    







The seminar will cover the basic GATT and WTO rules, and examine the implications of the massive growth of Regional Trade Agreements. The course is designed to help governments and 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.

The creation of the WTO some twenty years ago, with its effective enforcement system, vastly expanded the scope and effectiveness of the international trade system. While the Doha Round of multilateral trade negotiations has largely failed, the WTO still plays a vital role in the trading system, which is underpinned by the rules developed by the GATT (the WTO’s predecessor) and the WTO itself. Most importantly, these rules are enforced by the WTO dispute settlement system, which is much more effective than most international D/S systems. More than 500 cases have been filed with the WTO, compared with only three state-to-state cases under the NAFTA.

In part because of the failure of the Doha Round to produce much in the way of lowered trade barriers, 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 under negotiation. Although the United States has pulled out of the Trans Pacific Partnership, the other eleven signatories are moving ahead. China is leading negotiations of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) (16 countries, including India, China, Japan and Korea, accounting for nearly 30 percent of world trade). The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) between the United States and the EU, accounting for about 40 percent of world trade, is another possibility. 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 also examine President Trump’s impact on the world trading system. The WTO dispute settlement system has been under attack by the United States, and the President’s approach to dealing with perceived trade problems have been unorthodox, to say the least.


The seminar will be delivered through 5 live online sessions via videoconferencing platform. Each session will last approximately 3.5 hours and will start at a time to be announced closer to the seminar, but the starting time will be within a time window of 7:00 am – 8:30 am Washington DC time (Eastern Standard Time). We expect the classes to be highly interactive and will include presentations, case studies and exercises.

Course Outline

Background: the International Trading System

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

Regional Trade Agreements

  • GATT and GATS provisions authorizing 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, digital trade, 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. He is also co-editor of “A Business Guide to Trade and Investment”, published in 2017/18 by the International Chamber of Commerce.

NOTE: This course can be taken on its own or in conjunction with the course on The Trade Facilitation Agreement and Other Important Customs Issues, Negotiation of Trade Agreements, to be held the following week.