aw conference to be held in honor of retired professor

Jessica Thompson

The Law School will launch a two-day conference on international trade law at 8:15 a.m. today in Lockhart Hall, honoring the work of retired law professor Robert Hudec.
“The Political Economy of International Trade Law” conference features 39 scholars, government officials and practicing lawyers from around the world.
“This is a major international conference,” said Law School Dean E. Thomas Sullivan. “We have scholars from all over the world coming here to discuss international trade and competition issues.”
Hudec retired from the Law School last May after a 28-year University career, during which he made major contributions to the field of international trade law. He became one of the top world figures in international trade, Sullivan said.
Hudec said he watched the field of international trade law grow from a “relatively obscure topic of interest to an issue that has increasingly grown in public awareness and importance.”
With world trade increasing as a result of trade barriers being broken down, many Americans have become concerned about losing jobs to foreign countries, he said.
Combined with other concerns such as environmental regulations and the treatment of Third-World laborers, this has made international trade law “a very sensitive field,” Hudec said.
Many of the conference speakers will present papers centered around a theme that underlies much of Hudec’s work, said Law School executive secretary Amy Stine.
The theme stems from the hypothesis that law and institutions of international trade have been created in an imperfect international society. Therefore, they serve a distinctive role dictated by the political, diplomatic and economic settings in which they operate, Hudec said.
“The goal of the conference is to inform both students and other scholars about how to look at these institutions critically,” he said. “We want to look at the underlying political and economic conditions that determine the success or failure of international trade law.”

Jessica Thompson welcomes comments at [email protected] She can also be reached at (612) 627-4070 x3232.