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The Politics of World Trade



Commerce is one of the oldest ways of international contacts and a major motive behind foreign policies of states. Trade is also one of the hottest debated topics in international relations, especially as part of the discussion on the merits of globalisation. In the past decade it has been a cause of (violent) street protests around the world, and hardly less heated debates in conference rooms, the papers and the internet. This course aims to provide the students with a solid grasp of the background, main problems and issues related to international trade. The main focus will be on the political side, but the seminar will also cover some elements from economics, law and the history of ideas. An interdisciplinary approach is indispensable for a good understanding of the topic. The overall goal of the seminar is to provide students with sufficient knowledge for them to understand the basics of trade, which also allows them to contextualise the debate on trade and globalisation.

Method of instruction

The seminar combines lectures, group discussion and individual assignments. Active participation of the students is expected.

Study material

The central text for the seminar is Bernard M. Hoekman and Michel M. Kostecki (2009), The Political Economy of the World Trading System, third edition, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

It is essential to acquire this third edition. Trade politics is a dynamic area which requires up-to-date information.

This will be complemented by a small selection of articles, chapters and material from websites. The total reading load will be around 600 pages, literature for individual assignments excluded.


The final grade will be based on separate grades for class participation, two short written assignments and a final case study and presentation.


Lange Houtstraat 5-7, The Hague:

09-09-2010 room 401/402 13:15-15:15
16-09-2010 room 401/402 13:15-15:15
23-09-2010 room 401/402 13:15-15:15
30-09-2010 room 401/402 13:15-15:15
07-10-2010 room 13.26 Building Stichthage 13:15-15:15
20-10-2010 room 405 13:15-15:15
21-10-2010 room 401/402 13:15-15:15
28-10-2010 405 13:15-15:15