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Course 2018-2019 a.y.


Department of Law

Course taught in English

Go to class group/s: 21 - 22

BIEF (7 credits - II sem. - OB  |  4 credits IUS/05  |  3 credits IUS/14)
Course Director:

Classes: 21 (II sem.) - 22 (II sem.)

Mission & Content Summary

The relevance of international commercial transactions in the world economy is undisputed. According to the 2017 WTO’s Statistical Review, world merchandise exports have increased in 2016 by around 32 per cent since 2006, reaching US$ 16 trillion, and world exports of commercial services have increased by about 64 per cent, reaching a US$ 4,77 trillion. Global FDI flows, instead, fell by 2 per cent from 2015 to 2016, amounting to US$1,75 trillion, although a modest recovery is expected for 2017, according to UNCTAD’s 2017 World Investment Report. An understanding of the rules governing international commercial transactions is therefore a fundamental tool for virtually any professionals practicing in business-related areas. The mission of this course is to offer an in-depth introduction to the regulation of international commercial transactions. While the course focuses on technical legal issues, emphasis are put also on economic and political considerations affecting the regulation of international business.


The course is divided into two parts.

  • The first part deals with international business transactions and covers the following main topics:
    • International Sales of Goods. The United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods.
    • The Documentary Sale Transaction. Commercial Terms. Bills of Lading and Letters of Credit.
    • Agency and Distributorships.
    • Licensing Distribution or Production Abroad. Technology Transfer.
    • Franchising.
    • Foreign Direct Investment.
    • Shareholders’ Agreements.
    • Mergers.
  • The second part of the course deals with international trade law and covers the following main topics:
    • International Trade, from the GATT to the WTO.
    • GATT non-discrimination principles: MFN and NT.
    • Trade in goods (GATT) and trade in services (GATS). Exceptions from WTO free-trade rules.
    • TBT and SPS Agreements, and TRIPs.
    • WTO and Regional Trade Agreements.
    • Fair trade and trade remedies: dumping and subsidies.
    • International protection of foreign investments.
    • EU Commercial Policy: CETA and future developments.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILO)
At the end of the course student will be able to...
  • Recognize the main features of the different forms of doing business abroad.
  • Identify the issues that can arise in international business.
  • Explain the legal principles and rules that are relevant to international business.
  • Summarize the main features of international and regional agreements aiming at reducing obstacles to trade in goods and services.
  • Discern how WTO law interacts with other areas of international law.
  • Explain the main aspects of the international protection of investments.
At the end of the course student will be able to...
  • Solve legal issues that can arise in international business.
  • Evaluate legal strategies for doing business abroad.
  • Develop analytical skills.

Teaching methods
  • Face-to-face lectures
  • Guest speaker's talks (in class or in distance)
  • Interactive class activities (role playing, business game, simulation, online forum, instant polls)
  • In addition to face-to-face lectures, the course includes one or more guest lectures, given by attorneys and other professionals practicing in the field of international business, aimed at discussing practical issues and illustrative case studies, also in light of relevant, current events.
  • Hypothetical cases are also analyzed and discussed in class, in order to enable students to develop critical and analytical skills, and to offer them additional opportunities to understand how the topics covered during the course are applied in practice.

Assessment methods
  Continuous assessment Partial exams General exam
  • Written individual exam (traditional/online)
  •     x

    In order to evaluate the achievement of the above-mentioned learning outcomes, the grade for the course is based on a final written exam consisting of open-ended questions aimed to assess the ability of students to explain the concepts covered during the course and also solve hypothetical problems by identifying the relevant issues and developing appropriate legal arguments.

    Teaching materials
    • For the first part of the course, there is no required textbook. A selection of judicial decisions and other materials are uploaded on the Bboard platform before the beginning of the course. Students who might want to elaborate on the topics discussed in class may refer to: R.H. FOLSOM, et al., International Business Transactions in a Nutshell, West, 2016, 10th ed. This book is totally optional and in no way required.
    • For the second part of the course, the textbook is: P. VAN DEN BOSSCHE, D. PREVOST, Essentials of WTO Law, Cambridge, 2016. In addition, a selection of judicial decisions and other materials are uploaded on the Bboard platform before the beginning of the course.
    Last change 18/06/2018 22:01