The WTO and International Investment Law: Converging Systems


International law has historically regulated foreign trade and foreign investment differently. Distinct evolutionary pathways have led to variances in treaty form, institutional culture and dispute settlement. With their inevitable erosion through the late twentieth to early twenty-first centuries, those weak boundaries have become porous and indefensible. Powerful economic, legal and sociological factors are now pushing the two systems together. In his recent book published by Cambridge University Press, Professor Kurtz systematically explores the often complex and little-understood dynamics of this convergence phenomenon. In this seminar, he addressed the growing connections between international trade and investment law, proposing a theoretically grounded and doctrinally tractable framework to understand the deepening relationship between the two systems.

About the Speaker

Jürgen Kurtz is a Professor and Director of International Economic Law Studies at the University of Melbourne, Australia. He researches in the various strands of international economic law, including the jurisprudence of the World Trade Organization and of investor-state arbitral tribunals. Professor Kurtz has held research fellowships at the Jean Monnet Center at New York University Law School (as Emile Noël Fellow), the European University Institute in Florence (as Fernand Braudel Senior Fellow) and the Academy of International Law in The Hague. He has acted as party-nominated arbitrator in ICSID proceedings and expert consultant to the World Bank, the European Union, the ASEAN Secretariat, UNDP and UNCTAD. He currently serves as an elected member of the executive committee of the Society of International Economic Law, and the editorial boards of the Journal of International Dispute Settlement and the Journal of World Investment and Trade. Professor Kurtz can be contacted at