Unit description

Addresses the evolution of the legal regimes in international trade and development. Examines the basic legal structure of World Trade Organization (WTO), including the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) and other agreements, and will consider the development of regional trade agreements, including the European Union (EU) and the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), and the USA-Australian free trade agreement. Students will consider dispute settlement mechanisms under these regimes. The course will also examine the legal structures of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Students will consider financial market, policy and legal changes that have altered the mandate and effectiveness of these institutions in recent decades.

Unit content

  1. The breakdown of trade during the Great Depression, the instability of currencies, social and political unrest, and war.
  2. Rebuilding the international trading system at the end of World War Two; the creation of the IMF, the World Bank, the GATT system and the Marshall Plan.
  3. The golden years of post-war prosperity, and decolonisation of the Third World.
  4. Proposals for a New International Economic Order, including the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.
  5. The rise of the Washington Consensus and the hegemony of the dollar.
  6. The Roaring 1990s and aftermath: trade liberalisation, the World Trade Organization and the rise of China;
  7. the rise of regional trading blocs, NAFTA and the European Union;
  8. the USA-Australian free trade agreement;
  9. the rise of hot money portfolio capital flows and the instability of global finance.
  10. The crash of 2008 and the crisis in global trade and finance.

Learning outcomes

Unit Learning Outcomes express learning achievement in terms of what a student should know, understand and be able to do on completion of a unit. These outcomes are aligned with the graduate attributes. The unit learning outcomes and graduate attributes are also the basis of evaluating prior learning.

Learning outcomes and graduate attributes

Teaching and assessment


Intensive offerings may or may not be scheduled in every session. Please refer to the timetable for further details.

Southern Cross University employs different teaching methods within units to provide students with the flexibility to choose the mode of learning that best suits them. SCU academics strive to use the latest approaches and, as a result, the learning modes and materials may change. The most current information regarding a unit will be provided to enrolled students at the beginning of the study session.

Fee information


Commonwealth Supported courses
For information regarding Student Contribution Amounts please visit the Student Contribution Amounts.
Commencing 2017 Commonwealth Supported only. Student contribution band: 3

Fee paying courses
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Please check the international course and fee list to determine the relevant fees.