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Research and Projects

Current Projects

International Trade Law Clinic

We are designing a clinic that combines research by students on actual trade issues facing U.S. businesses with advanced instruction on the particular areas of international trade law implicated by the issue. The clinic would be offered for academic credit under the close supervision of Program instructors.

Funding for Student Scholarships and Graduate Fellowships

In recognition of the advanced nature of the international trade law opportunities at Levin College of Law, the Program is seeking funding for one or more international trade law scholarships to attract a broader core of students, including not only those interested in participating in our international law certificate studies, but also students interested in the joint degrees offered with the University’s Warrington College of Business. The International Trade Law Fellowship would permit a recent graduate to continue research on a wide variety of international trade law subjects that are likely to be encountered in practice.

Acid test for trade remedy exposure of agricultural exporters

Most of the 148 countries that belong to the WTO have enacted “trade remedy” legislation to protect their domestic industries from the injury caused by unfairly traded or surging imports that can be an inevitable consequence of freer trade. Company officials, even those experienced in financial matters, cannot hope to understand the hundreds of adjustments and other regulatory variations that consume trained government analysts for eight months and more to determine whether an importer is either dumping (by selling for export below home market prices or fully allocated cost of production), receiving unfair subsidies (those targeted to specific industries), or is part of an unusual multi-country surge in imports of a product that has caused serious injury to domestic producers of the “like product.” Even producers fully intending to sell their products fairly may nonetheless become caught up in lengthy probes by a foreign government of their pricing practices, costs of production, customers, government benefits, and similar sensitive business information. This proposal seeks to use the Program’s experience with trade remedy laws around the world to enable exporters to apply a straightforward test to determine whether their pricing and government benefits create conditions that traditionally cause foreign governments to open trade remedy investigations

Impact on Florida industry of regional trade negotiations

Since 2000, the United States has signed free trade agreements with Chile, Jordan, Singapore, and the Central American States together with the Dominican Republic. USTR is negotiating agreements with Australia, the Andean Communities, Bahrain, Thailand, Oman and the United Arab Republic, Panama, and other countries. The Program continues to evaluate the effects of these agreements on import-sensitive and export industries in Florida and the United States.

University of Florida Levin College of Law International Trade Report

We intend to launch in the near future a periodic summary of how Florida exporters and investors have fared in the hottest target markets and industry sectors. Reports also will evaluate a recent trade agreement, law, or other activity for its effects on new markets for Florida business.

Past Projects

The Cotton and Sugar Subsidies Decisions: WTO’s Dispute Settlement System Rebalances the Agreement on Agriculture, 10 Drake J. Ag. L. No. 2 (forthcoming Sept. 2005).

Acting on complaints by Brazil, the WTO adopted in Spring 2005 two dispute settlement reports that not only require substantial changes to U.S. and European agricultural subsidies, but also alter the balance of concessions reached in the 1994 Agreement on Agriculture, thereby making even more knotty the task of tightening agricultural disciplines underway in the Doha Development Round. The U.S.—Cotton decision could have substantial effects on specialty agriculture and the EC—Sugar decision puts at risk U.S. commodities such as rice, soybeans, and corn that are exported at prices below fully allocated cost of production and benefit from a high degree of domestic support. The paper looks at the implications of the decisions using both subsidies law and, through co-author Dr. Andrew Schmitz of IFAS, trade economics. [ more info- 356kb PDF]

WTO and NAFTA Dispute Settlement for North American Agricultural Trade, Chapter 4 in INTERNATIONAL AGRICULTURAL TRADE DISPUTES: CASE STUDIES IN NORTH AMERICA (Calgary Press 2004).

Dispute settlement under trade agreements has gained such reach that consideration needs to be given to invoking its machinery in a wide variety of international commercial disputes. This chapter provides an understanding of how these recent additions to the field of alternative dispute resolution systems would operate with respect to agricultural border disputes and why a litigant might choose one over the other when both are available—or either over national courts. [ more info- 94kb PDF]

Regional Economic Arrangements and the Rule of Law in the Americas: The Human Rights Face of Free Trade Agreements, 17 FLA. J. INT’L L. No. 2 (Sept. 2005).

Regional trade agreements encourage transparency, accountability, and due process by governments. Dispute settlement systems in free trade agreements similarly promote timeliness, inclusive record keeping, and impartiality in the administrative decisional process. This paper explores specific ways in which the rich trove of free trade agreements in the Hemisphere contributes to enjoyment by global businesses and civil society alike of rules-based governance. [ more info- 269kb PDF]

The Place of Human Rights Law in World Trade Organization Rules, 16 FLA. J. INT'L L. 219 (2004).

The World Trade Organization and the North American Free Trade Agreement, primarily because of their single-minded pursuit of non-discrimination in trade and the surprising effectiveness of their dispute settlement systems in corralling violators, have had outsized effects on the parameters of national agendas for such human rights objectives as protection of the environment and pursuit of sustainable development, furtherance of core labor rights, and even promotion of other fundamental human rights principles, including elimination of disease and drug plagues. This essay reminds trade negotiators that global trade rules do not operate in a vacuum, but instead cohabit a world of pre-existing human rights laws—articulated most often by demands of the labor and environment sectors, but underpinned by even more basic human rights of individuals such as the right to education and freedom from oppression—that should, in any sensible system of laws, be able to co-exist with economic precepts without conflict. [ more info - 79kb PDF]

Tomato production in Florida is a $500 million a year industry

Mexico’s exports of tomatoes to the United States account for about 1% of that country’s total exports. These are the kind of numbers that cause governments to take strong positions in support of their industries, even at the risk of disturbing an otherwise peaceful trade relationship with an important neighbor. As demonstrated by trade remedy cases involving lumber from Canada, cement from Mexico, and textiles from China, the most significant areas of trade between two countries rarely are resolved after a single flare-up of trade tensions. Rather, trade disputes involving economically vital products recur periodically until trade negotiators somehow can design creative ways to satisfy the critical needs of each country. Often the unfair trade laws, because of the effectiveness of their remedies and the international acceptance of their rules, can serve as unique catalysts to bring the warring parties to that realization. This article explores the actual and potential use of the anti-dumping and countervailing duty laws in the Mexican-Florida tomato wars. [ more info - 2.8MB PDF]

International Trade Law Seminars for Business Executives and Practicing Lawyers

The Trade Panel for the annual Conference on Legal and Policy Issues in the Americas, sponsored by the UF Levin College of Law Center for Governmental Responsibility, is the Program’s showcase seminar. Past panels have brought together top trade experts from around the Hemisphere to analyze important Hemispheric issues for our business, legal, and academic audiences:

  • The Contribution to Rules-Based Governance of Dispute Settlement Systems in Trade and Investment Agreements (Gainesville, 2005)
  • Economic Integration in the Hemisphere (San José, Costa Rica, 2004)
  • Human Rights Commitments in the Americas: From the Global to the Local (Gainesville, 2003)
  • The Export of Medical Supplies and Agricultural Products to Cuba (Gainesville, 2002)
  • What Economic Integration in the Hemisphere Means to Florida Industries: Now and in 2005 (Gainesville, 2001)
  • Regional Trade Agreements and the WTO in the Americas: New Issues as the Pace of Economic Integration Quickens (Gainesville, 2000)

The 2006 Americas Conference was held in Lima, Perú. The International Trade Law Program considered a number of potentially relevant issues for the trade panel, including improvement of the investment provisions of regional trade agreements, the role of regional economic agreements in fostering codes of conduct for government officials, the future of trade remedy laws in the Hemisphere, and topics suggested by negotiations between the Andean Community and the United States or other regional trade agreements.

The Program has presented over 50 seminars on timely trade subjects, including WTO decisions on cotton and sugar subsidies, fundamentals of anti-dumping and countervailing duty laws, the WTO aspects of GMO foods, the growing value to business of the WTO and NAFTA dispute settlement systems, making the FTAA and other free trade agreements work for small and medium sized companies, and the impact on various industries of international trade agreements and ongoing negotiations.

The Program considers requests for presentations by industry associations, law firms, and other groups on international trade topics of interest to their members. See the Contact information at the left.

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