Trade policy of the European Union in times of rising protectionism

Trade deficits, trade wars, protectionism are buzzwords back in the news. While globalization is called into question, tit-for-tat tariffs have chilled business confidence and investment. However the EU still believes in the benefits of free trade, thus it is committed to defend the WTO and to extend its network of free trade agreements such as the one with New Zealand.


Course outline

Day 1
Definition of trade policy. Tariffs, quotas, tariff rate quotas and non-tariff barriers. Types of trade agreements: Customs Unions, Free Trade Areas and the rules of origin (an example with the EU and the NAFTA, now USMCA).

Day 2
EU trade policy: aims, tools and decision-making. Multilateral and bilateral agreements, the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP). The NZ-EU trade deal.

Day 3
The World Trade Organization (WTO) principles, the dispute settlement system, and main rules on unfair trade: dumping and subsidies.

Day 4
Global value chains. Explaining the trade balance. The U.S. trade deficit and the iPhone. U.S. – China trade war

Learning outcomes

On completion of this course participants will be able to:

  • Understand the economic effects of tariffs and quotas.
  • Compare free trade agreements to customs unions.
  • Understand why Mexico benefits from a network of free trade agreements.
  • Be familiar with the strategy of the EU as far as trade is concerned.
  • Understand the rules of the global free and fair trade set by the WTO.
  • Understand the Boeing – Airbus trade dispute.
  • Learn about the main trends of world trade.
  • Compare a multilateral agreement with a network of bilateral agreements.
  • Critically review comments about trade deficit.
  • Understand how Vietnam benefits from the U.S. – China trade war.

Who should attend?

  • Business people
  • Journalists
  • Lawyers
  • Political scientists
  • Everyone interested in international politics and economics


  • 4 x sessions, Wednesday 4 March - Wednesday 25 March, 10am - 12pm
  • $145.00 incl. GST
  • The University of Auckland, City Campus
  • Presented by Stefano Riela

Seminar presenter

Stefano Riela

Stefano Riela

Stefano is research fellow at the Europe Institute of the University of Auckland, ​lecturer of Economics of EU at Bocconi University (Italy).

He was coordinator of the course in EU Competition Policy, lecturer of EU economic policies at ISPI (Italy), and Coordinator of the Graduate course on European economics and competitiveness for the Babson College (USA). He was economic advisor at the Communications Regulatory Authority in Italy, faculty coordinator and lecturer at NIBI (New International Business Institute), research director at ResPublica Foundation, and consultant of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs during the Italian Presidency of the Council of the EU. 

He holds a PhD in International Economic Law (Bocconi University), a Master in Economic Regulation and Competition (City University, London), a Master in International Relations (ULB-Ceris, Brussels) and a BA in Business Administration (Bocconi University).

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