Course code ECN330

ECN330 Economic Integration and Trade Liberalization

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Showing course contents for the educational year 2022 - 2023 .

Course responsible: Roberto Javier Garcia
ECTS credits: 10
Faculty: School of Economics and Business
Teaching language: EN
(NO=norsk, EN=Engelsk)
Limits of class size:
Teaching exam periods:
This course starts in Autumn parallel. This course has teaching/evaluation in Autumn parallel. There are expected to be 10-11 3-hour sessions, twice a week for the first half of the semester. Exercises are held during lecture sessions. The semester project is due late in November and the individual defense of the project is to be arranged during the final week of lectures, before the final written exam.
Course frequency: Annually
First time: Study year 2007-2008
Course contents:

The course is intended to advance international economics by bridging economic theory and concepts related to trade and cross-border factor movements (capital and labor) with the business implications of the rules on the use of trade policy and national regulations/programs that affect production, consumption, resource use, trade and factor mobility. The legally-based rules on trade policy and domestic regulations under the institutional frameworks of the European Union (EU) and the World Trade Organization (WTO) are analyzed for their consistency with economic theory and the implications for the business community.  

The lectures and exercises are designed to provide a practical understanding of economic integration and trade liberalization, i.e., EU and WTO, as the WTO as institutional platforms to address the economics of globalization. Globalization, defined from an economic perspective, is the international trade in goods and services and cross-border mobility of capital and labor. Graphical analysis and simple numerical examples permit the study and economic analysis of trade policy and domestic regulations governing trade in goods and services and cross-border factor mobility. The course provides a comprehensive overview of the treatment of trade policy (import/export taxes, subsidies and quotas) and domestic regulations (sanitary and phytosanitary measures, technical barriers to trade, investment measures, subsidies, agricultural programs, intellectual property rights and protection, etc.) which have trade policy equivalence.

The student is expected to develop: a conceptual framework for understanding the economic implications of regional integration versus the WTO's multilateral trading system; the ability to analyze and provide an economic assessment of trade policies and domestic regulations of a country in terms of whether such policy/program is appropriate to meet the objectives and whether it is compliant with a country's WTO commitments; and the ability to analyze the business implications of specific trade rules and the policies employed by different countries by examining the central features of trade disputes.

The course has direct relevance to development studies, commodity market analysis, agribusiness and food markets, and international business through its focus on policies affecting trade in goods and services, regulations affecting the cross-border movement of capital and labor, and their implications for domestic and international markets.

A full description of the course, lecture plan, course materials, exercises and past exams are available at the following website:

Learning outcome:

From knowledge imparted through the readings and lectures, and applied through exercises and a semester project, the student can be expected to:

Explain the theoretical (economic, political and legal) underpinnings of the different forms of economic integration and understand the business implications of each; Assess and evaluate a country's trade policy (policy outcome) and national regulations for compliance with the rules and commitments of a member state of the EU or WTO; Analyze the economic, trade and welfare effects of trade policy and determine the trade policy equivalent effect of domestic regulations. 

Through the required activities, the skills developed should include: effective working in groups to analyze trade policy, interpreting the insights behind the numerical results; research toward written work on an actual trade dispute that requires identifying the problem and analyzing it as a trade policy issue in terms of compliance with or violation of trade law; and oral communication through presentation of results from exercises and orally defending the written work.  

Learning activities:

Learning activities include:

1. Self study: Students are expected to read the assigned material for each lecture. There will be short video clips of lectures and tips for solving exercises, presentations slides and tutorials for graphical analysis. 

2. Lectures: There are expected to be 10-11 three-hour lecture sessions given intensively in the first half of the semester. Lecture materials are directly related to the exercises (problem sets) and models to be used for the semester project.

3. Exercises: 2-3 group work exercise sessions and questions related to the problem set. Participation is mandatory. If the student does not attend the exercise session, the assignment must be submitted with answers to the related questions.

4. Semester project: a written group work case study (or term paper) on the specifics of a trade dispute at the WTO must be submitted. The project requires application of the knowledge obtained through lectures and reading assignments by having students understand the objectives of a country's policy, analyze the trade implications of that policy, and assess the merits of the arguments of the parties involved in the trade dispute after weighing the objectives against the evidence of the policy's effects.  

The semester project is group work of 2-3 students who will jointly write a term paper or case study. An early draft of the paper must be submitted before the end of the teaching period and presented to the class. The draft will be given detailed feedback to help upgrade the final draft which is to be submitted at the end of the semester. The presentation will serve as a trial run of the oral defense of the final draft.   

Teaching support:

The instructor is available during exercise sessions and maintains office hours during which the student can seek consultations with the instructor. Should the student prefer to have more feedback on exercises or want to follow up on points made during class lectures, office hours or e-mail contact are appropriate for that purpose.

Once the lectures sessions are over midway through the semester, students will be working on their semester project. The instructor will be available for consultations during the time allocated for lectures. The instructor will accept drafts of the paper to edit and comment. After submission of the draft paper, each group can expect to have a written evaluation of the paper with general and specific comments on the quality of the work.


The required reading materials consist of two textbooks: Hoekman and Kostecki, The Political Economy of the World Trading System; and any international economics textbook, e.g., Krugman, Obsfelt and Melitz, International Economics: Theory and Policy (Pearson Education Limited), or Appleyard and Field, International Economics (McGraw-Hill, Inc.).

In addition, there are supplementary readings on line. All course information available at:


The course is designed to be relevant for students of business and economics and is open for students from outside the School of Economics and Business. It is a core course under the Agribusiness and Food Economics specialization. Because of its relevance for analysis of commodity and food markets, the course should also appeal to students in developing studies and agricultural and food sciences. 

Students with some background in business or economics with an intermediate course in microeconomics (ECN210 Microeconomics II - Consumer, Producer, Market and Welfare) are eligible. Advanced bachelors' students with strong foundation in business or economics are also eligible. ECN230 International Economics is very relevant course, but it is not a prerequisite. Some students have chosen to take the two courses in the same semester, but that is not necessary either. Students from outside the School of Economics and Business can be assured that the relevant basic economic concepts are reviewed before their application is extended in this course.

Recommended prerequisites:
A firm background in basic/intermediate microeconomics is useful. Relevant theory covered at the bachelor's level (e.g., trade theory, policy analysis, and theory of the second best) are refreshed and basic microeconomic concepts such as price and income elasticities, producer and consumer surplus, imperfect competition, etc. are reviewed as necessary. 
Mandatory activity:

Required activities include:

1. Self study: Students are expected to read assigned readings before the lecture, access the supporting materials on the website (presentation slides, tutorials of graphical analysis, and short video summaries of lectures or tips for preparing for the problem sets).

2. Exercises: Students are required to participate in group work on 2-3 problem sets and answer questions related to the solutions.The exercises are scheduled in the lecture plan. For students who do not attend during exercise sessions and choose to work alone, the solution to the exercise and answers to the related questions can be submitted via e-mail. 

3. Semester project: the semester project requires some preliminary submission and presentation to help ensure the quality of the work before it is finalized. A draft of the paper must be submitted before the end of the lecture period. This will ensure the instructor has an opportunity to comment and give detailed feedback. The draft paper will also be presented in class as a group to help prepare students for the final oral defense of the paper. 

Mandatory activities are valid one year.


Combined assessment consisting of portfolio 60% of the overall grade: final written draft of the paper (40%) due before the end of the teaching period; and an individual oral defense of the final draft of the paper (20%) to be arranged prior to the written exam (before the exam period); and final written 3-hour exam that accounts for 40% of the overall grade. There are no calculations required and graphs are required only where specified, but can be used throughout as the student prefers.

Students will know their grade on the semester project (paper and oral defense) prior to taking the written exam.

If the term paper is not passed, the course has to be taken again. It will not be possible to carry forward a term paper grade to the next year. No re-examination is offered.

Nominal workload:

250 hours of which:

40-50 hours are related to classroom activities (10-11 three-hour lecture and exercise sessions; 1 presentation session; and 1 final exam review); and

200 hours are related to self study, preparing for in-class exercises, and research for writing the semester project. 

Entrance requirements:
Minimum requirements for entrance to higher education in Norway (generell studiekompetanse).
Reduction of credits:
Some overlap with ECN230 as it regards basic trade policy analysis.
Type of course:

There are expected to be 10-11 three-hour lecture hours, twice per week (2 x 3 hour sessions) which includes time for group work on exercises. Lectures end midway (mid-October) through the semester to give students time and space to work on their semester projects. 

Students work on semester project from mid-October to mid-November to submit first draft and give a group presentation of the paper. 

The final draft is submitted at the end of the lecture period for the instructor and external evaluator to have time to read the final draft and arrange an oral defense before the final written exam.  

The course is in English. Incoming students can contact student advisors at the School of Economics and Business ( for admission to the course. 
An external examiner will control the quality of the syllabus and questions for the final examination. The external sensor will also evaluate the paper and be present for the oral defense of the paper.  
Allowed examination aids: A1 No calculator, no other aids
Examination details: Combined assessment: Letter grades