Fundamentals of International Trade Law

Important Notice

This course is not active. Please contact Department Chair for more information.

Commerce & Business Administration
Course Code
BUSN 3700
Semester Length
15 Weeks X 4 Hours per Week = 60 Hours
Max Class Size
Method(s) Of Instruction
Typically Offered
To be determined


Course Description
This course is designed to provide students with an understanding of several important legal principles encountered in international business. The course will consider the structure and sources of international law and will examine key legal issues found in both private and public international law.
The coverage of private international law will focus on the areas of international dispute resolution, international sale of goods transactions, international transportation, and legal aspects relating to international finance. The course will also consider selected issues of public international law that include the global trading framework, customs law, intellectual property law, international taxation, and international labour and human rights law. It is recommended that students take BUSN 1320 prior to enrolling in this course.
Course Content
  1. Structure and Sources of International Law
    1. public and private international law
    2. customary international law
    3. international treaties, conventions and protocols
    4. comparative legal systems
  2. International Dispute Resolution, Jurisdiction and Choice of Law
    1. resolution of international trade disputes
    2. jurisdiction
    3. venue of dispute
    4. conflict of laws
    5. enforcement of foreign judgments
  3. International Sale of Goods
    1. international sale of goods contracts
    2. UN Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods (CISG) - Vienna Sales Convention
    3. Uniform Commercial Code (UCC)
    4. Canadian Customs Law and import and export controls
    5. international products liability
    6. e-commerce and the law in international business
  4. Finance and the International Sale of Goods
    1. common methods of payment and documentation used in international commercial contracts
    2. bills of lading
    3. international bills of exchange
    4. letters of credit
    5. promissory notes
    6. basic principles of international taxation and tax treaties
  5. International Transportation
    1. carriage of goods by sea, air, road and rail
    2. United Nations International Convention on the Carriage of Goods by Sea (the Hamburg Rules)
    3. insurance and international transportation
  6. The Global Trading Framework
    1. the WTO Agreement
    2. the North American Free Trade Area
    3. other regional trading agreements
  7. International Labour and Human Rights Law
  8. Intellectual Property
    1. types of intellectual property rights
    2. international agreements to protect intellectual property rights
    3. licensing the transfer of intellectual property rights
  9. International Business Alliances
    1. main types of business structures used in international business alliances
    2. basic legal considerations associated with business partnerships, joint ventures, strategic alliances, distributorships, licences and franchises
    3. legal aspects of foreign direct investment (FDI)
Learning Activities

Lectures, videos, analysis of legal issues, discussion of legal cases, case assignments, and group activities

Means of Assessment

Term examination(s) 30 - 40%

Term Paper 20 - 30%

Final examination 30 - 40%

Class participation and/or assignments 0 - 10%

Learning Outcomes

At the end of the course, the successful student should be able to:

  1. distinguish between the concepts of international private law and international public law;
  2. recognize the main aspects of the international legal system including the sources of international law and the issues encountered in transnational disputes;
  3. identify the key elements of an international sale of goods contract and understand the role and influence of the UN Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods on global trade;
  4. describe the main tools used to finance the global trade in goods;
  5. recognize the importance of international transportation in global trade and identify the legal issues that arise with the carriage of goods by sea, air, road and rail;
  6. describe the global trading framework set out in the WTO Agreement and various regional trading agreements including NAFTA;
  7. summarize the basic principles of Canada’s customs laws as they relate to global trade;
  8. distinguish between copyright, trademarks, and patents, describe the protection accorded to intellectual property by international law, and explain the available licensing mechanisms;
  9. identify the general principles of international labour law and international human rights law;
  10. explain the concept of international tax treaties and describe the various methods used by national governments to levy income taxes;
  11. describe the key legal aspects associated with the common forms of international business aliances.
Textbook Materials

At the instructor’s discretion, any of the following texts:

Schaffer, R., Agusti, F., and Earle, B., International Business Law and its Environment. Latest Edition. (Nelson Education Canada)


August, R., Mayer, D., and Bixby, M., International Business Law: Text, Cases, and Readings. Latest Edition. (Pearson Prentice Hall)

(or such other textbook as decided upon by the Instructor)


Additional cases and readings decided by the Instructor



No prerequisite courses.


No corequisite courses.


No equivalent courses.

Course Guidelines

Course Guidelines for previous years are viewable by selecting the version desired. If you took this course and do not see a listing for the starting semester / year of the course, consider the previous version as the applicable version.

Course Transfers

These are for current course guidelines only. For a full list of archived courses please see

Institution Transfer Details for BUSN 3700
There are no applicable transfer credits for this course.

Course Offerings

Fall 2023