International Economic Law


The purpose of this seminar is to provide an overview of the three mains institutions that were created in the aftermath of WWII and that have shaped the international economic order ever since: (i) the GATT/WTO; (ii) the International Monetary Fund (IMF); and (iii) the World Bank Group. Within these three groups of institutions greater emphasis will be accorded to the study of the WTO and, in particular, to the free trade of goods and services. Each academic year will have a background topic taken from the latest developments at the international stage; this academic year the background topic will be the impact and consequences of COVID-19 in world trade.

General characterization





Responsible teacher

Lúcio Tomé Feteira


Weekly - 2

Total - 24

Teaching language



Not Applicable


  • BOSSCHE, Peter Van den/ZDOUC, Werner, The Law and Policy of the World Trade Law: Texts, Cases and Materials, 4th. edition (CUP: 2017)
  • CARREAU, Dominique/JUILLARD, Patrick/BISMUTH, Régis/HAMANN, Andrea, Droit international économique, 6ème. Edition (Dalloz: 2017)
  • DALLIER, Patrick/La PRADELLE, Géraud/GHÉRARI, Habib, (dir), Droit de lÉconomie Internationale (Éditions A. Pedone: 2004)
  • HERDEGEN, Mathias, Principles of International Economic Law, 2nd edition (OUP: 2016)
  • LACHENMANN, Frauke / WOLFRUM, Rüdiger (eds.), International Economic Law The Max Planck Encyclopedia of Public International Law (OUP: 2015)
  • LESTER, Simon/MERCURIO, Bryan/DAVIES, Arwel, World Trade Law: Text, Materials and Commentary, 3rd. edition (Hart: 2018)
  • LOWENFELD, Andreas F., International Economic Law, 2nd edition (OUP: 2008)
  • MATSUSHITA, Mitsuo/SCHOENBAUM, Thomas J./MAVROIDIS, Petros C./HAHN, Michael, The World Trade Organization: Law, Practice and Policy, 3rd edition (OUP: 2017)
  • QUREISHI, Asif H./Ziegler, Andreas R., International Economic Law, 3rd edition (Sweet & Maxwell, 2011)
  • S. SURANOVIC, International Trade Theory and Policy (2010) -
  • TREBILCOCK, Michael J., Advanced Introduction to International Trade Law, 2nd. edition (Edward Elgar: 2015)

Teaching method

Classes will combine lectures with discussions on previously designated topics. Students will have advance access to reading materials and/or bibliographical references on the designated topics.

Evaluation method

Students may choose between two types of assessment: (i) an assessment exclusively based on the grade obtained at the final written exam (100%); or (ii) an assessment based on the weighted average resulting from the grade obtained in the final written exam (50%) combined with the grade resulting from active participation in the classroom (50%). The latter will require the advance reading of materials and active engagement in class concerning the discussion of preselected topics.

Subject matter

I. ¿ Introduction

  1. Notion and object
  2. International Economic Law (IEL) and International Public Law (IPL): actors, legal sources and relation with domestic/municipal law. 
  3. IEL and EU law
  1. Development of IEL from Bretton Woods to the present day: overview and main present trends (the role of developing countries, fragmentation and the return of protectionism)

II. ¿ International trade law 

  1. Why trade? 
  2. Why free trade?
  3. From the GATT (1947) to the WTO (1994)
  4. The WTO Agreement as an ¿umbrella¿ agreement
  5. Institutional structure of the WTO 
  6. Dispute settlement under the WTO

III. ¿ GATT: obligations, exceptions and remedies

  1. Principles and duties under the WTO system: MFN and NT; tariffs, quotas and other barriers to market access for goods
  2. Exceptions and deviations from the WTO system: preferential trade agreements (PTAs); general exceptions 
  3. Selection and deployment of remedies

IV. ¿ GATS: overview

V. ¿ Recent trends in international trade and its (foreseeable) impact on the WTO: COVID-19 and world trade. 

VI. ¿ The World Bank Group: origin, evolution and present role

VII. ¿ The international monetary system and the IMF

VIII. - Conclusion