International Economic Law in Times of Crisis: Implications of the Russia-Ukraine WTO Panel Report

Apr 24, 2019
1:00pm - 3:00pm

Furman 310

On April 5, a World Trade Organization disputes panel issued the first-ever decision to review a state security measure for compliance with WTO law, ending more than seventy years of silence on the WTO “security exception”. This decision challenges the long-held position of the United States and others that each WTO member retains the sole discretion to decide what measures are necessary to its national security. More broadly, the decision invites us to ask whether and to what extent the issue of national security is suitable for WTO adjudication.

This event, also livestreamed, will address the historical importance of this decision, the likely consequences for the Trump administration’s defense of its own tariffs on national security grounds, and the systemic implications for the international trade and investment regimes.

Panelists: J. Benton Heath, Jennifer Hillman∗, Robert Howse, Mona Pinchis-Paulsen

Moderator: José E. Alvarez

Livestream instructions: Log onto Password = wtolaw.

Please RSVP by clicking here. Space is limited.

Handouts: International Economic Law in Times of Crisis

To learn more about the WTO decision and its implications, listen to Mona Pinchis-Paulsen on the podcast Trade Talks discussing the historical origins and tradeoffs of justifying trade restrictions under the threat to national security.


José E. Alvarez is the Herbert and Rose Rubin Professor of International Law at NYU School of Law. Professor Alvarez is a former president of the American Society of International Law, the previous co-editor-in-chief of the American Journal of International Law, and a member of the Institut de Droit International and Council on Foreign Relations. His over 130 articles and book chapters and six books have made substantial scholarly contributions to a wide range of subjects within international law, including the law-generating rules of international organizations, the challenges facing international criminal tribunals, the boundaries between “public” and private,” and the legitimacy issues surrounding the international investment regime. His most recent books include The Impact of International Organizations on International Law (2017) (originating from his General Course offered at the Xiamen Academy of International Law), International Investment Law (2017), and The Boundaries of Investment Arbitration (forthcoming, Juris 2018). Alvarez has been a special adviser on international law to the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, an attorney-adviser in the Office of the Legal Adviser of the U.S. Department of State, a judicial clerk to a U.S. appellate judge, and a lawyer in private practice. He previously taught at Columbia Law School, the University of Michigan, George Washington University Law School, and Georgetown Law School.

Jennifer A. Hillman is currently a professor of practice at the Georgetown Law Center, teaching the lead courses in international business and international trade, while serving as a fellow of Georgetown’s Institute of International Economic Law (IIEL). She recently published Legal Aspects of Brexit:Implications of the United Kingdom’s Decision to Withdraw from the European Union (IIEL 2017), drawn from a seminar she co-taught in the fall of 2016. Professor Hillman has had a distinguished career in public service, both nationally and internationally. She recently completed her term as one of seven members from around the world serving on the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) Appellate Body. Prior to that, she served for nine years as a commissioner at the United States International Trade Commission (USITC), rendering decisions in more than six hundred investigations regarding injury to U.S. industries caused by imports that were dumped or subsidized, along with making numerous decisions in cases involving alleged patent or trademark infringement. Before her appointment to the USITC, Hillman served as general counsel at the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR), where she had previously been an ambassador and chief textiles negotiator.

J. Benton Heath is an Acting Assistant Professor of Lawyering at NYU School of Law, where his research focuses on international economic law, global governance, and national security. Prior to joining the NYU Lawyering faculty, he served as an attorney-adviser with the U.S. State Department, where worked on cases before the International Court of Justice, the Iran-United States Claims Tribunal, other international arbitral tribunals, and U.S. courts. He also was previously associated with the international arbitration group at Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt & Mosle in New York. Professor Heath’s most recent article, The New National Security Challenge to the Economic Order, is forthcoming in the Yale Law Journal.

Rob Howse is Lloyd C. Nelson Professor of International Law at NYU Law School. Among his recent works on international economic law are The Legitimacy of International Trade Courts and Tribunals (Cambridge, 2018; co-editor) and “The World Trade Organization 20 Years On; Global Governance by Judiciary” (European Journal of International Law, 2016). Howse is co-founder & co-convener of the New York City Area International Economic Law Working Group.

Dr. Mona Pinchis-Paulsen is an Emile Noël Fellow at the Jean Monnet Center for International and Regional Economic Law & Justice. Her current research focuses on the history of global economic governance, with particular interest in the formation of legal norms and rules and modes of dispute resolution. She completed her Ph.D. in International Economic Law at King’s College London. She is currently completing a book project, The Life and Death of Fair and Equitable Treatment: Law, Diplomacy, and Reconceptualizing in the Early Relationship of Trade and Investment Law (under advance contract at Oxford University Press). Beginning June 1, 2019, Dr. Pinchis-Paulsen will be a Teaching Fellow for the LL.M. Program in International Economic Law, Business and Policy and Lecturer in Law, Stanford Law School.

∗Prof. Hillman will participate by Skype