Trade Law in the Trump Era: A Transatlantic Perspective

Boston University School of Law
September 8 – 9, 2017
765 Commonwealth Avenue, Barristers Hall

Erasmus Programme EU

What are the prospects for multilateral trade law and for megaregional agreements such as the TTIP in the Trump era? Are existing tools in international economic law sufficient to address popular grievances and issues of global justice? In the context of U.S. policy discourse, what similarities and what differences characterize the Trump- and Sanders-esque critiques of trade and globalism? And on the other side of the Atlantic, what is the significance of Brexit and other anti-EU movements? This conference will address these questions as scholars from local law schools and others gather to debate the impact of the Trump Era policies on the global economy.

Friday, September 8

9:30-10:00 Continental Breakfast and Registration

10:00-10:15 Welcome

Dean Maureen O’Rourke (Boston University)
Chantal Thomas (Cornell University; Boston University Kleh Visiting Professor 2017)

 10:15-11:30     PANEL I

Regional and Bilateral Agreements: From NAFTA to TTIP – and Back

The proliferation of regional and bilateral trade and investment treaties has constituted one of the foremost trends of recent decades. What has the substantive and procedural impact of these agreements been on international economic law? What norms are emerging, from the mega-regionals to BITs? More specifically, what would be the impact of U.S. withdrawal from NAFTA? What is the correct way of assessing the fate of TPP and TTIP, the mega-regional agreements the United States was seeking to conclude with countries of Asia-Pacific and Europe, respectively? What about CETA, CFTA, and other mega-regionals not involving the United States? From a U.S. domestic law standpoint, what powers does the President have to conduct trade policy independently of Congress?

Moderator/Commentator: Rebecca Ingber (Boston University)

Joel Trachtman (Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy) – Trade Policy in the Trump Administration
Alvaro Santos (Georgetown University) The Future of NAFTA
Robert Wai (Osgoode Hall Law School) – Normal Trade Law


 11:45-1:00       PANEL II 

 What Remains of Multilateralism?

 Just as World Trade Organization Members brought the much-beleaguered Doha round of negotiations to a close, the organization faced yet another challenge in the form of threatened withdrawal by the United States. This follows the substantial challenges to multilateralism posed by increased trade regionalism. What are the prospects for multilateral trade law going forward? At the close of World War II, the United States assumed a mantle of leadership, along with the UK, for multilateralism. Now that these countries are facing popular revolt against their leadership as it has unfolded over the decades, must other countries step in to fill the potential void? How can trade multilateralism survive challenges from within (threatened withdrawal by member states) and without (proliferation of preferential trade agreements)?

Moderator/Commentator: Joost Pauwelyn (Georgetown University)

Rob Howse (NYU) Why Multilateralism Still Matters – Most
Elizabeth Trujillo (Texas A&M)Trade and the Institutionalization of Regulatory Cooperation: Multilateralism v. Regionalism
Kerry Rittich (University of Toronto) – The Future of Multilateralism: A Labor Law Perspective

 [Buffet Lunch]

 1:30-2:45         PANEL III                                            

 Trade, Democracy, and Distributive Justice

Populations of the global North have rebelled against free trade orthodoxy in recent years. One way of seeing this is as a particularly virulent reaction to the “democratic deficit” – citizens asserting the primacy of a social contract obligation to ensure their economic security over the imperative to open borders. What is missing from the popular formulation? Are existing tools in international economic law sufficient to address / accommodate popular grievances? What must be done to reshape the discursive opposition of globalization and social justice?

In the context of U.S. policy discourse, what similarities and what differences characterize the Trump- and Sanders-esque critiques of trade and globalism? In this political climate, what are the prospects for multilateral trade law going forward?  And on the other side of the Atlantic, what is the significance of Brexit and other anti-EU movements?

Moderator/Commentator: Rob Sloane (Boston University)

Dan Danielsen 
(Northeastern University) Diagnosing the Inward Turn in Democratic Capitalist States: Is Trade Law the Problem?
Chantal Thomas (Cornell University) Income Inequality and International Economic Law
Marija Bartl (University of Amsterdam) Market Imaginaries and the TTIP
Frank Garcia (Boston College) – Re-Imagining International Trade Law


3:15-4:45         PANEL IV

 State-led Strategies for Growth and Financial Stability

While the WTO has remained relatively agnostic regarding development policies pursued by individual member states, the United States and other nations have pushed for trade policies that restrict the role of the state in the economy. The EU, within its borders, has limited the independent policy-making space of individual member states, and its pressure towards liberalization in international trade has often collided with strategies of state-led growth in the global South. Brazil, China, and India have by contrast pursued strategies for state-led growth. How do state-led strategies relate to WTO law in global trade governance? What about corollary state-led moves in investment and financial policy?

Moderator/Commentator: Chantal Thomas (Cornell University)

Mark Wu
(Harvard University) – China Inc.
Sonia Rolland (Northeastern University)/ David Trubek (University of Wisconsin) –Emerging Economies, Developmental Strategies, and Trade Standards:The Search for Alternative Space
Chris Brummer (Georgetown University) – Trade and Financial Regulation
Kevin Gallagher (Boston University)The Incompatibility of International Economic Law and Trade Law on Key Issues of Financial Stability

[Light Refreshments]

 5:00-6:15         PANEL V

Trade Law and the EU: Distributive and Political Implications

The negotiations of TTIP and CETA, as well as the Brexit campaign, have brought to the surface sharp divisions among lawyers and policy makers as to the appropriate design of an international trade and investment architecture for the EU. The EU Commission has put forth new initiatives and concepts, such as ‘better’ regulation, ‘fairer’ investor-state dispute resolution mechanisms, and ‘Trade for All’.  This panel focuses on the discursive and substantive implications of the EU’s recent trade law and policy choices. It addresses, as well, the possible repercussions of the EU’s transatlantic trade agenda on the global South. The shift away from the Doha Round and the focus on TTIP and CETA risks downplaying the externalities of transatlantic regionalism for developing countries.

Moderator/Commentator:   Luwam Dirar (Harvard University), Thomas Streinz (NYU)

Jen Riccardi
(EU Delegation) – ‘Trade for All’ and EU Responses to the Trade Agenda of the Trump Administration
Fernanda Nicola (American University) – Diplomacy by Adjudication: Shifting Foreign Crises and Trade Disputes to Luxembourg
Daniela Caruso (Boston University) – RTAs and Non-Parties: An Analytical Framework

Saturday, September 9

10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Room 418

Roundtable, Research Projects, Brunch and Farewell.

Opening remarks: Thomas Streinz (NYU); et al.

All—including faculty, students, and the general public—are welcome to attend the conference.