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Courses / Modules / LAWS3176 International Trade, Investment and Sustainable Development

International Trade, Investment and Sustainable Development

When you'll study it
Whole Academic Year
CATS points
ECTS points
Level 6
Module lead
Emily Reid
Academic year

Module overview

International trade and investment drive the developing inter-connectedness of markets that is a key feature of globalisation. International trade law concerns the regulatory framework of the multilateral trading system. International investment law regulates the relationship between foreign investors and the states being invested in. The laws which regulate international trade pursue the reduction of barriers to trade and can be perceived as being at odds with environmental, human rights and other public policy regulation intrinsic to sustainable development. Similarly, protection of foreign investors can be seen to inhibit the right of states to adopt regulation relating to public policy including environmental protection, measures tackling climate change and human rights. While both international trade and investment are drivers of globalisation, they clearly raise questions regarding the role of the state, and its regulatory freedom.

Alongside the development of international trade and investment law, however, the international community has committed to a range of 'non-trade' objectives, including environmental, tackling climate change, human rights and labour standards. These non-trade objectives, together with economic interests (trade and investment) are integral to the achievement of 'sustainable development'.

This module explores the relationship between international trade and investment law, and sustainable development, and the potential role of trade and investment regimes in the international community’s pursuit of the United Nations sustainable development goals. Recognising that state action alone is not sufficient to address the sustainability challenges of globalised international trade and investment, the module also considers the role and responsibilities of non-state actors for example with regard to supply chains.