Students taking this seminar will learn how governments have used international legal instruments and disputes to balance the important public policy objectives of economic development and free trade on the one hand and sustainability and environmental protection on the other. The seminar will examine some of the key international environmental agreements that regulate or affect international trade in various ways (e.g., the international conventions on trade in endangered species (CITES), trade in hazardous waste (the Basel Convention), trade in living genetically modified organisms (the Cartegena Protocol), and some of the fisheries agreements that include trade sanctions for noncompliance). Students will study and critique the effectiveness of the environment and natural resource-related provisions in free trade agreements, including the USMCA successor to NAFTA, the TransPacific Partnership Agreement, and the WTO agreements. Students will also learn about the trade-restrictive provisions in U.S. environmental laws, such as the ban on imports of shrimp caught in a manner harming endangered sea turtles, and will debate whether countries should restrict imports of energy-intensive products from nations with lax climate policies. Students will also examine key cases involving trade-related challenges to environmental laws and regulations; such litigation will include classic and recent WTO dispute settlement cases (e.g., other countries' challenges to US trade bans on unsustainably harvested fish products and restrictive solar tariffs), and NAFTA and FTA investor-State arbitration disputes involving challenges to environmental regulations.
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