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PL50893: Economic foreign policy and the international trade regime

[Page last updated: 15 October 2020]

Follow this link for further information on academic years Academic Year: 2020/1
Further information on owning departmentsOwning Department/School: Department of Politics, Languages and International Studies
Further information on credits Credits: 6      [equivalent to 12 CATS credits]
Further information on notional study hours Notional Study Hours: 120
Further information on unit levels Level: Masters UG & PG (FHEQ level 7)
Further information on teaching periods Period:
Semester 2
Further information on unit assessment Assessment Summary: ES 100%
Further information on unit assessment Assessment Detail:
  • Essay (ES 100%)
Further information on supplementary assessment Supplementary Assessment:
Like-for-like reassessment (where allowed by programme regulations)
Further information on requisites Requisites:
Description: Aims:
The unit aims to introduce students to major changes in the international economic landscape, and the complex mesh of politics, economics, markets and regulatory preferences that interplay to determine the fortunes of the global economy. The unit focuses on the dynamics, challenges and conflicts in the global trading system. It offers a theoretical overview of the main aspects of the system, including a brief history of trade policies and trade arrangements; the WTO; regional trade arrangements and current arrangements outside of the WTO. The unit engages the changing nature of the global trade system and analyses current challenges to the established WTO system stemming from emerging and developing states, and also from the financial and economic crisis. Issues of conflict and interdependence, trade sanctions and trade wars, and the interplay of trade and power politics will be explored throughout the course from the perspective of various International Political Economy theories. The unit aims to foster critical engagement and discussion of current changes and events of relevance to the students and to global markets (e.g. China's rise, BRICS and the WTO, Transatlantic negotiations), including how various power and ideational configurations in flux may result in potential systemic changes. The unit aims to provide students with the analytical tools to critique and devise trade and economic foreign policy strategies for governments and expansion strategies for companies.

Learning Outcomes:
Students successfully completing the unit will:
* Demonstrate the ability to highlight the key features of the WTO system and global trading system
* Apply International Political Economy and Trade theories to analyse cases of economic and trade conflicts, and changes in the international economy
* Develop an understanding of the main theoretical debates surrounding global trade, the WTO and non-WTO trade arrangements
* Gain familiarity with the actors, interests, ideas and effects of USA, EU and Chinese trade policies
* Critically assess the concepts of free trade, fair trade, sustainable trade
* Show an appreciation of changes in global trade and investment flows have come about, and how they have affected domestic and international markets and politics
* Craft and develop trade strategies.

Assignments, presentations, class exercises and lectures are geared at developing the following skills:
Ability to critically analyse and explain developments in global trade
Identification of trade strategies of key actors
Ability to formulate a trade strategy and negotiation strategy from a government's perspective
Interpersonal and negotiation skills
Interpreting trade data
Skills in critical analysis, precision in the use of written and spoken language, exercise of independent judgement, reasoned argument, effective communication, teamwork and the planning/conduct/reporting of non-quantitative research are developed and assessed in this unit.

1. Politics, Trade and IPE
2. Free Trade and its Discontents
3. Rules of the Game: WTO and post-WTO regimes
4. Development and Trade
5. Value chains, Integration and the Rise of Asian Markets
6. Conflict and Trade
7. Future Challenges of Trade.
Further information on programme availabilityProgramme availability:

PL50893 is Optional (DEU) on the following programmes:

Department of Social & Policy Sciences

PL50893 is Optional on the following programmes:

Department of Politics, Languages and International Studies


  • This unit catalogue is applicable for the 2020/21 academic year only. Students continuing their studies into 2021/22 and beyond should not assume that this unit will be available in future years in the format displayed here for 2020/21.
  • Programmes and units are subject to change in accordance with normal University procedures.
  • Availability of units will be subject to constraints such as staff availability, minimum and maximum group sizes, and timetabling factors as well as a student's ability to meet any pre-requisite rules.
  • Find out more about these and other important University terms and conditions here.