CUS503 International Trade Policy and Practice (16)

This subject examines the international trade policies and practices that have been developed as a consequence of WTO/GATT law and other international obligations and policy settings, the implications of this policy and practice in the current international trade environment, the importance of these implications and the importance of national agendas to those administrating or participating in cross border trade.


Session 1 (30)
Canberra Campus
Session 2 (60)
Canberra Campus

Continuing students should consult the SAL for current offering details: CUS503. Where differences exist between the Handbook and the SAL, the SAL should be taken as containing the correct subject offering details.

Subject Information

Grading System



One session


Centre for Customs and Excise Studies

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this subject, students should:
  • be able to explain and commentate critically on the framework and key legal principles of the GATT and WTO Agreements and other relevant international treaties;
  • be able to solve complex problems, in both theoretical and practical situations/scenarios of cross-border trade and management, by developing policy that addresses appropriate compliance with GATT/WTO law and other international legal obligations and other emerging and topical aspects of international trade;
  • be able to commentate critically on current policy approaches to international trade and analyse the implications of various policy approaches on the global trading environment and the border;
  • be able to assess and evaluate the impact of GATT/WTO law and other international trade obligations on national trade policy objectives and implementation;
  • be able to formulate appropriate analytical and well-developed practical responses that meet international obligations while achieving national trade policy objectives and explain those approaches to others; and
  • be able to formulate appropriate analytical and well-developed approaches to border policy, practice and procedure by analysing areas of international trade that could benefit from GATT/WTO law reform and to be able to explain those approaches to others


This subject will cover the following topics:
  • Context of International Trade
  • o Globalisation
  • o Free Trade v Protectionism
  • Barriers to International Trade
  • o Tariff and non-tariff barriers
  • Multi-lateral Trade Negotiations
  • o The GATT - Introduction and fundamental principles
  • o The WTO - GATS, TRIPS and the Annex 1A Agreements, the DSU and the TPRM
  • o The WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement
  • o Other treaties impacting on cross border trade and its management
  • Preferential Trade Negotiations
  • o Regionalism v Multilateralism
  • o Rules of Origin - the ?spaghetti bowl? phenomena
  • Current approaches/Future Trends
  • The Doha Round

Indicative Assessment

The following table summarises the assessment tasks for the online offering of CUS503 in Session 2 2021. Please note this is a guide only. Assessment tasks are regularly updated and can also differ to suit the mode of study (online or on campus).

Item Number
Value %
On-line participation
Regional trade negotiations
Memorandum to the minister
Selected essay topics

The information contained in the CSU Handbook was accurate at the date of publication: May 2022. The University reserves the right to vary the information at any time without notice.