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   Course Title    International Trade Law
Lecturer    Evgueni Popov
Institution    Saratov State Academy of Law
Country    Russian Fedaration


This special course examines impact of international trade law upon the regional and global trading system. The focus is necessarily upon the regulatory effect of that law, in particular as regards the creation of the global trading system and the harmonization of national regimes and, more generally, in terms of the globalization process as applied to trade practices.

Previous knowledge of substantive civil, financial and banking law is a requirement for this course.


The course aims at highlighting traditional and new concepts and doctrines relating to various problems within the scope of the discipline and providing students with the up-to-date methodology of the scientific research in this complex area of law. Students are given an opportunity to gain knowledge on how to resolve different legal problems, taking into account international and national legal regulation. Students are encouraged to develop their reasoning and presentation skills, discussing debatable and controversial issues arising in the context of particular topics.


The course is mandatory and is taught to senior students specializing in the field of international and commercial law. Having acquired basic knowledge of national civil, financial and banking law, students are now moving towards an understanding of the international legal regulatory framework in the field of commerce. An important notice is that among the courses that are taught by the department of private international law international trade law is the pre-requisite for taking other special courses such as international business transactions, international banking law, international tax planning etc.


The students are required to prepare either a short essay of 10-12 double spaced pages on a topic agreed in advance with the lecturer or an open class presentation of about 30-45 minutes.


You can use the following hyperlinks to access to more information on a particular topic of the course or ask me for a precise advice on how to get the information you need on the Web.

Recommended readings:

  1. Constitution of the Russian Federation. Moscow, 1993
  2. Civil code of the Russian Federation. Parts I & II. Moscow, 1999
  3. Contract law. Volumes I & II. Moscow, 1992
  4. Komarov F., Resolution of international commercial disputes. Moscow, 1994
  5. Zykin I.S., Customs and practices in international trade. Moscow, 1992
  6. International financial and trade customs. Volumes I & II. Moscow, 1995
  7. Financial operations in international commerce. Moscow, 1992
  8. Schmitthoff. C. Export Trade: Law and Practice. Moscow, 1993
  9. Velyaminov G.M. Basics of international economic law. Moscow, 1994
  10. Arets E. European Company Law. London, 1993
  11. The Vienna Convention on the international contracts of the sale of goods, 1980. Moscow, 1994
  12. INCOTERMS 1990: Commentary. .Moscow, 1994
  13. International trade: financing, insurance and other services. Kiev, 1994
  14. Uniform Customs and Practices for the Letters of Credit: commentary. Moscow, 1994
  15.  Tolkunov, A. International Tax Planning. Moscow, 1999

I. Introduction to International Trade Law (1 hour)

The purpose of this topic is to provide a general introduction to the international legal regulatory framework of commerce. Having outlined the basic definitions relating to international trade, discussion then turns to the problem of globalization and its impact on the development of the international trade law. Finally, attention is drawn on the principles of the international legal framework of the multinational trading system.

  1. Definitions: international trade, commerce and development.
  2. International trading system: liberalization of trade and commerce.
  3. The globalization of the world economic, political and financial systems. The role of international trade in the global development. The impact of globalization on the global trading system. The problem of sustainable development and international trade. The international trade and human rights.
  4. International legal framework for the international trade.

II. Unification of International law relating to international trade (1 hour)

This topic addresses the issue of unification of international trade law by means of discussion of the role and functions of international organizations in the field. Various forms of unification that are extensively used in the field are discussed. Attention is then given to the theory of lex mercatoria, which is admittedly an underlying basis for the development of international trade law. In the end, future paths in the unification process of international trade law are examined.

  1. The role and significance of international organizations.
  2. The theory of lex mercatoria: origin, the impact on the unification process and its application in international trade law.
  3. Future paths in the unification of international trade law.

III. Sources of international trade law (1 hour)

Attention is drawn in the context of this topic both to recognized and debatable sources of international trade law. Following the introductory examination of international and bilateral treaties and uniform laws, discussion gives consideration to other important primary and supplementary sources of international trade law. Finally, national legislation as possibly applicable to international trade is examined from international and national legal standpoints.

  1. International treaties: kinds, significance and the sphere of application.
  2. Bilateral treaties: kinds, significance and the sphere of application.
  3. Uniform laws.
  4. Codes of conduct.
  5. Arbitration rules.
  6. Acts of international organizations.
  7. National legislation as applicable to international trade.

IV. Actors of international trade law (1 hour)

Attention here is given to principal actors of international trade and peculiarities of their legal capacity in international commerce. Special focus is made on the regional organizations as they provide an alternative solution to the problems that arise in the scope of international trade.

  1. States. Different approaches of developed and developing states to the international legal framework governing international trade. Special position of states in transition.
  2. Transnational corporations. Legal status in and under international law. The role of transnational corporations in the formation of international trade law.
  3. International organizations (WTO, UNIDROIT, UNCITRAL, UNCTAD).
  4. Regional organizations (NAFTA, EU, ASEAN etc.).
  5. Juridical persons.
  6. Physical persons.
  7. Arbitration associations (LCIA, ICC Arbitration, Stockholm Center, Singapore Center, MCIA).

V. Legal regimes in international trade (1 hours)

Following the brief introduction to the WTO/GATT system and corresponding legal analysis of this institutional framework, discussion is focused on issues relating to legal regimes in international and trade, including the principles of treatment, protection, retaliation and conciliation measures.

  1. Principle of MFN and corresponding legal regime of trade.
  2. Principle of national treatment and corresponding regime of trade.
  3. Discriminatory regimes in international trade. GATT/WTO and the principles of free trade.
  4. Tariffs, trade measures, export/import duties in international trade. Unification in the field.

VI. International commercial contracts (2 hours)

Being familiar with the national concept of contract, students get acquainted with the international dimension of contractual relationships and corresponding legal peculiarities. Attention is then given to the mostly used international commercial contracts that will also be discussed in length during seminars.

  1. Definition of an international commercial contract.
  2. Legal peculiarities of an international commercial contract.
  3. Mostly used international commercial contracts:
  4. international contracts of the sale of goods;
  5. agency in international trade, including distribution, exclusive distribution arrangements, and the contracts of commission and delegation;
  6. international contracts of leasing and financial leasing;
  7. franchising;
  8. contracts on the basis of countertrade;
  9. international transfer of technology: licensing agreements, know-how agreements, etc.

VII. International law of sales (2 hours)

Having examined the previous topic, students move forward to the international law of sales, which is recognized as the most successfully unified area of international law. After the introduction to the international contract of the sale of goods, attention is drawn to the Vienna Convention on the Contracts for the International Sale of Goods 1980, which will also be examined in detail during seminars. Finally, the discussion of principles of international commercial contracts (UNIDROIT, 1994) is suggested as a topic finalizing the examination of the international law of sales.

  1. Definition of an international contract for the sale of goods.
  2. The form of a contract. The validity of a contract.
  3. The formation of a contract.
  4. The Vienna Convention on the Contracts for the International Sale of Goods 1980
  5. the adoption of the Convention;
  6. the sphere of its application;
  7. the liability of a guilty party under the Convention;
  8. the limits of liability and the force majeure clauses;
  9. Principles of international commercial contracts (UNIDROIT, 1994)

VIII. INCOTERMS 1990 (1 hour)

Discussion in the scope of this topic turns to standard contract terms in international trade. Attention is given specifically to INCOTERMS 1990. Following the introduction to this instrument, focus is then on the particular groups of INCOTERMS and F.O.B. and C.I.F. terms.

1. General characteristics of INCOTERMS.

2. Characteristics of the groups of terms

3.F.o.b. contract.

4.C.i.f. contract

IX. Risk analysis in international trade (1 hour)

The purpose of this topic is to examine risks relating to international trade. Systemic nature of the risk analysis in international trade is a key concept which helps to understand how related risks operate in the field of international trade.

  1. Systemic nature of the risk analysis.
  2. Commercial risks.
  3. Political risks.
  4. Legal risks.

X. International trade finance (2 hours)

Finance is an integral part of international trade. Attention is given to mostly used financial instruments and techniques. Legal aspects of their usage in international trade are discussed.

  1. Legal regime of international trade finance.
  2. Bills of exchange:
  3. The Geneva Uniform Laws on the bills of exchange;
  4. The Bills of Exchange Act 1884 (common law position);
  5. bankersí acceptances;
  6. Cheques:
  7. the Geneva Uniform Laws on the cheques;
  8. common law position as regards cheques;
  9. Bank remittances.
  10. Collection arrangements.
  11. Letter of credit. Kinds of the letter of credit. Commercial letters of credit and standby letters of credit.
  12. International financial leasing arrangements.
  13. International factoring.
  14. Forfeiting in international trade.
  15. Suretyship and Guarantees: independent default guarantees.

XI. Risks of payment in international trade (1 hour)

Financial instruments and techniques of international trade bear various risks, including the risk of payment. Insurance and protection clauses as mostly used measures are examined in the context of the topic.

  1. Definition of a risk of payment. Insurance in the payment arrangement.
  2. Protection clauses.

XII. International tax planning (2 hours)

International commercial operations require effective financial and tax planning. Bearing in mind international scope of commercial operations, attention is given here to principles and basic mechanisms of international tax planning. Afterwards discussion turns to mostly used schemes and methods of the tax minimization in international commercial operations.

  1. Principles and basic mechanisms of international tax planning of international commercial operations.
  2. Principal schemes and methods of the tax minimization in international commercial operations.

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