Show Less
You do not have access to this content

Advanced Introduction to International Trade Law

Michael J. Trebilcock Joel Trachtman

Written by two leading scholars with 60 years of collective experience in the area, this insightful updated second edition provides a clear and concise introduction to the fundamental components of international trade law, presenting the basic structure and principles of this complex area of law, alongside elucidation of specific GATT and WTO legal rules and institutions. Key updates include references to the most recent cases, decisions and treaty negotiation developments, analysis of populist critiques of international trade law and analysis of new areas including digital trade and security exceptions.
Show Summary Details
You do not have access to this content

Setting the context

Michael J. Trebilcock Joel Trachtman


Members of different societies have traded with each other since the beginning of recorded history.1 However, one of the first efforts to articulate a rigorous intellectual basis for the economic benefits of facilitating trade between members of different societies was made by Adam Smith. In The Wealth of Nations, published in 1776, Adam Smith argued that the gains that could be realized from specialization in domestic economic activity could readily be extended to international economic activity.2

The tailor does not attempt to make his own shoes but buys them off the shoemaker. The shoemaker does not attempt to make his own clothes, but employs a tailor … What is prudence in the conduct of every private family can scarcely be folly in that of a great kingdom. If a foreign country can supply us with a commodity cheaper than we ourselves can make it, better buy it off them with some part of the produce of our own industry, employed in a way in which we have some advantage.3

Smith’s Theory of Absolute Advantage essentially stated that countries should export those products which they can produce more efficiently than other countries and import those products which they cannot. For example, if countries with tropical climates can produce bananas or pineapples more cheaply than countries with temperate climates, the latter should purchase these products from the former. Conversely, if countries with industrialized economies can produce hydro-electric plants or communications systems more efficiently than countries that enjoy a cost...

You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.

Elgaronline requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals. Please login through your library system or with your personal username and password on the homepage.

Non-subscribers can freely search the site, view abstracts/ extracts and download selected front matter and introductory chapters for personal use.

Your library may not have purchased all subject areas. If you are authenticated and think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

Further information

or login to access all content.