Balancing Free Trade with Societal Values

On 25 March, UNU-MERIT will host a lecture by Denise Prévost, Associate Professor of International Economic Law, Maastricht University.

- Europe/Amsterdam
Open to public

On 25 March 2024, UNU-MERIT will host "Balancing Free Trade with Societal Values", a MSc in Public Policy and Human Development Programme (MPP) Open Lecture by Denise Prévost, Associate Professor of International Economic Law, Maastricht University. This event will be held in person and online at 13:30 Central European Time.

It is widely recognized that development encompasses more than economic growth through trade liberalization. It also entails the promotion of important societal values and interests, such as environmental protection, labour standards and human rights. The dire consequences of climate change and environmental degradation, and the need to mitigate them, has spurred action on national and international level that has implications for the trade regime and for the possibilities of developing countries to increase their economic prosperity. The World Trade Organization (WTO) recognizes that trade liberalization is not an end in itself, but must promote sustainable development.

This lecture will dive into an issue of particular importance in trade policy today — the interaction between trade liberalization and sustainable development. The lecture will explore the exceptions in WTO law that allow Members to deviate from their free-trade obligations in order to pursue other societal values such as sustainable development, and the disciplines they impose to prevent the abuse of this flexibility for protectionist purposes. Here a 'balance' emerges between trade liberalization and the regulatory autonomy of Members.

Visit the UNU-MERIT website for event updates and to learn more about the MSc in Public Policy and Human Development programme.

About the speaker

Denise Prévost is Associate Professor of International Economic Law at Maastricht University. She was the Academic Coordinator of the Institute for Globalisation and International Regulation (IGIR) until 1 August 2009, when she was appointed Deputy Academic Director of IGIR until 2011. Previously (2004–2007) she worked as Assistant Professor of International Economic Law at Utrecht University. From 1998 to 2004, she worked as a research associate in the Department of International and European Law at Maastricht University, where she lectured courses on international trade law, the external relations of the European Union and legal English and conducted research towards her PhD. Her doctoral thesis is entitled: Balancing Trade and Health in the SPS Agreement — The Development Dimension (2009, Wolf Legal Publishers).

In 2001, Denise interned at the Legal Affairs Division of the Secretariat of the World Trade Organization. She has also work as a consultant for various international organizations, the European Commission, national bodies and industry groups. Further, she has been a visiting lecturer in several international programmes including the China Europe School of Law in Beijing, China; the Institut des Hautes Études Internationales at the University of Paris II, France; the International Trade and Investment course at the University of Padova, Italy; and the Joint CWS-WTI Academy in New Delhi, India.

Denise studied law at the University of Pretoria, South Africa (BLC cum laude 1992, LLB cum laude, 1994),  the University of South Africa (LLM, 2001) and Maastricht University (LLM summa cum laude, 1998, PhD 2009). She was admitted as an advocate of the High Court of South Africa in December 1996.