Trade Wars, or the war on trade

In cooperation with the Faculty of Law

10Sept2018 17:00 - 18:30


‘Trade wars are good, and easy to win’, the president of the United States claimed, before announcing import tariffs on steel and aluminum. As stock exchanges slipped, fear for a global trade war set in. Although there are international legal rules governing these disputes, it would seem this system itself might be in peril.

Even trade wars have to abide by the international laws of economic warfare. The WTO sketches the limits of what states can and cannot do. Yet, in recent years the WTO-framework has come under attack. One point of criticism is that free trade and globalization have led to undesirable results: ‘unfair trade’ would hurt the American steelworkers and protectionism may seem a reasonable solution to such situations. Secondly, the WTO itself is becoming more and more a ‘paper tiger’: the WTO dispute settlement mechanism is in danger of becoming hamstrung, whereas excessive long procedures have led to trade deals outside the WTO. Are we witnessing the end of the international legal economic cadre? Are trade wars a way to deal with problems arising from free trade? And what can be expected if tensions continue to grow? Our panelists shall engage with these issues and there will be room for debate. 

About the speakers

Pieter Jan Kuijper has been Professor of the Law of International (Economic) Organizations at the Faculty of Law of the University of Amsterdam (UvA), the Netherlands, since 2007. A renowned expert in the field of Trade Law, he has gained insights in both the practice of the EU as the WTO. He was a member of the Legal Service of the Commission of the European Communities (1979-1984, 1987-1999 and 2002-2007) where he was active in the 'Competition-' and 'External Relations' teams. He was Legal Advisor to the Commission's 'Uruguay Round Negotiation' team and later headed a newly formed GATT/WTO litigation group within the Commission's Legal Service.

Geraldo Vidigal is Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Law of the University of Amsterdam (UvA), where he coordinates the LL.M. in International Trade and Investment Law. Prior to joining UvA, he was a Dispute Settlement Lawyer at the World Trade Organization (Legal Affairs Division) and a Senior Research Fellow at the Max Planck Institute in Luxembourg. He holds a PhD in International Law from the University of Cambridge, an LL.M. from the Sorbonne Law School, and an LL.B. from the University of São Paulo. He is the Managing Editor of the law journal Legal Issues of Economic Integration.


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Location: SPUI25

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