tralac Short Course: Reading and Interpreting International Trade Agreements - June 2022
Case study of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) – including the Protocol on Women and Youth in Trade
Trade agreements are treaties of a specific kind; they regulate cross-border trade between two or more nations. These agreements establish trade-related rights and obligations for the State Parties. Unlike traditional trade agreements which cover trade in goods only, modern trade agreements cover a range of additional trade-related disciplines such as trade in services, dispute settlement, investment, intellectual property rights, competition policy, electronic commerce, trade and gender, sustainable development and public procurement, among others.
Trade agreements are, as a rule, not self-executing. They must be implemented through domestic measures taken by state organs in the State Parties. Customs administration is a typical example for trade in goods. National regulators perform the same domestic tasks in respect of trade in services.
While disputes about trade agreements have to be settled by the State Parties (private parties do not, as a rule, enjoy standing before international dispute settlement bodies), private parties and firms may approach domestic courts for judicial review and other public law remedies available under the law of the land. Trade remedies (re anti-dumping & countervailing measures) and safeguards are increasingly important. They may also, if provided for in the legal instruments of regional trade arrangements (such as the East African Community), enjoy standing before Regional Courts and Tribunals.
There are additional reasons for offering courses dealing with the legal instruments underpinning trade and integration initiatives. In many ways the world has become a global marketplace. Multilateral and regional trade agreements are of growing importance but are specialized legal instruments with their own logic and terminology. They need to be understood and be reported on correctly.
Module 1: 27 – 28 June 2022
The first module will be structured to accommodate participants without a background in public international law and international trade law. This module will cover basic principles and foundations of international trade law and situate the discussion in the context of Africa’s multilateral, continental and regional trade governance agenda.
Module 2: 29 – 30 June 2021
The second module will analyse the legal instruments of the AfCFTA and relate their content to continental integration policies and arrangements, including the Regional Economic Communities (RECs). Dispute settlement issues will be explained. The agenda for the Protocol on Women and Youth in Trade will also be examined.
The course which will be offered to 40 participants
Closing date: 16 June 2022