ECN330 Economic Integration and Trade Liberalization

Credits (ECTS):10

Course responsible:Roberto Javier Garcia

Campus / Online:Taught campus Ås

Teaching language:Engelsk

Course frequency:Annually

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.

Teaching and exam period: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.

About this course

The course is intended to advance international economics by bridging economic theory, as applied to cross-border trade and factor (labor and capital) movements, with international commerce and business. The rules on the use of trade policy (import/export taxes, quotas, and subsidies) and domestic regulations/programs (sanitary and phytosanitary measures, technical restrictions, investment measures, subsidies, agricultural programs, intellectual property protection, etc.) are analyzed to study their effect production, consumption, and resource use. These rules, based on law or treaty, under the institutional frameworks of the European Union (EU) and the World Trade Organization (WTO) are analyzed for their consistency with economic theory and their implications for the business community and international commerce.

The course has direct relevance to policy analysis, international business, development studies, commodity and product market analysis, and agribusiness and food markets through its focus on trade policy/business regulation that affects trade and factor movement between 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:

* Develop a conceptual theoretical framework to understand the economic, political and legal underpinnings of the different forms of economic integration and their implications for business;

* Analyze the economic, trade and welfare effects of a country's trade policy or domestic regulation in terms of whether these are appropriate to meet the stated policy objectives (and determine the trade policy equivalent effect of a domestic regulation);

* Assess and evaluate a country's trade policy and domestic regulation for compliance with the rules and commitments of a member state of the EU or WTO; and

* Analyze the international business implications of trade policy or regulations employed by different countries by examining the central features behind a trade dispute.

Through the required activities, the skills developed should include: effective working in groups to analyze trade policy, interpretation of the insights behind numerical results or graphical analysis; research and data collection to produce written work that analyzes a trade dispute; and oral communication through presentation of results from exercises and orally defending the written work.

  • 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 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.

  • 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 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 Trade, Policy and Development 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 and trade policy analysis are reviewed before their application is extended in this course.

  • Combined assessment consisting of portfolio: final draft of a written group semester project (40%) due before the end of the teaching period; an individual oral defense 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.

    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.

  • 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.
  • 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.

  • The course is in English. Incoming students can contact student advisors at the School of Economics and Business ( for admission to the course.
  • There are expected to be 10-11 three-hour lecture hours, twice per week (2 x 3 hour sessions) which includes time for in-class group work on exercises.

    Lectures end mid 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.

  • Some overlap with ECN230 as it regards basic trade policy analysis.
  • Minimum requirements for entrance to higher education in Norway (generell studiekompetanse).