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Capacity-Building Courses

Washington Trade Reports offers customized capacity-building services. Clients have included, among others, government agencies in Albania, Cambodia, Egypt, Guatemala, Guyana, Kazakhstan, Mexico, Mongolia, Peru, and Thailand. Courses may be designed for as little as two days or as long as three weeks, and focus on practical issues in the collection and analysis of data, preparation for and conduct of trade negotiations, and other real-world issues. Contact us for options.

Dr. Craig VanGrasstek of WTR is also on the faculty of three universities that offer capacity-building courses in trade policy.

Mastering Trade Policy: Understanding and Acting in Today's Economy is ideal for those with limited time but immediate needs. Aimed at professionals, it is taught by faculty in the Harvard Kennedy School. The course provides a semester's worth of training in economics, politics, law, and negotiations theory into an intensive two-week course that is offered once a year, with the next class scheduled for August 26-September 7, 2012. Click here for further details.

The International Economic Law and Policy (IELPO) at the University of Barcelona (Spain) prepares students for a Master of Laws. This nine-month program  features experts drawn from leading law and economics faculties, international organizations, and research centres, and revolves around seven modules. Click here for further details.

The Master of International Law and Economics (MILE) Programme at the World Trade Institute in Bern, Switzerland is designed for students and young professionals who wish to deepen their knowledge of the law, economics, and political economy of global commercial relations. Click here for further details.

Capacity-Building in Trade Policy

The term "capacity building" is fairly elastic, and can mean anything from simple training to acquiring the full array of resources — personnel, funding, real estate, equipment, etc. — that an institution needs in order to operate effectively in the field of trade policy. The most critical part of capacity-building nevertheless remains the development of professional expertise, with the well-rounded trade policy professional being well advised to ignore the otherwise good rule that the global economy requires specialization and a division of labor. An effective trade policy practitioner will instead step over disciplinary boundaries and develop capacity in law, economics, and politics.

The Washington Trade Report website can help individuals build capacity in this field. One way to learn is to go to WTR's portal to the Computerized ENcyclopedia of TRAde Law and Policy (CENTRAL), choose among the topics for which CENTRAL provides navigational guides, and follow the text and the hyperlinks for key terms, agreements, and document.

Users may choose instead to start with the three lists below of Top Tens in this field, or with the Timelines of Trade Policy. These timelines cover the colonial period (1492-1815), the Pax Brittanica (1816-1913), the second Thirty Years War (1914-1945), the GATT period (1946-1994), and the WTO period (1995-present).

Both beginners and experienced practitioners can learn from the Classics of Trade and Political Economy, above all Adam Smith's Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations (1776). Other classic authors in this field include Alexander Hamilton (including his contributions to the Federalist Papers and his Report on Manufactures), James Madison, Friedrich List, Richard Cobden, John Maynard Keynes, and even Karl Marx and Vladimir Ilyich Lenin


:: Top Ten Trade Terms :: Top Ten WTO Instruments :: Top Ten U.S. Trade Laws and Agreements

The terms below are the most significant concepts in trade policy.

  1. Non-Discrimination

  2. Free Trade

  3. Fair Trade

  4. Tariff

  5. Special and Differential Treatment

  6. Reciprocity

  7. Subsidy

  8. Exceptions

  9. Intellectual Property Rights

  10. Services

The items below are the most significant instruments in the WTO regime.

  1. General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT 1947)

  2. Agreement Establishing the World Trade Organization

  3. Agreement on Agriculture

  4. General Agreement on Trade in Services

  5. Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights

  6. Understanding on Rules and Procedures Governing the Settlement of Disputes

  7. Doha Ministerial Declaration

  8. Agreement on Safeguards

  9. Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures

  10. Agreement on Textiles and Clothing

The provisions, laws, and agreements below are the most significant instruments in the U.S. trade policy regime.

  1. The Constitution, especially the Commerce Clause and the Treaty Power

  2. The Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States

  3. The Trade Promotion Authority provisions of the Trade Act of 2002

  4. The North American Free Trade Agreement

  5. The Countervailing and Antidumping Duty laws

  6. The reciprocity provisions of the Trade Act of 1974, as amended (section 301)

  7. The safeguard provisions of the Trade Act of 1974, as amended (section 201)

  8. The Generalized System of Preferences

  9. The Caribbean Basin Economic Recovery Act (as modified by the Caribbean Basin Trade Partnership Act)

  10. The Andean Trade Preferences Act (as modified by the Andean Trade Promotion and Drug Eradication Act)